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A week from Saturday I will be running in my 9th marathon up in Duluth, MN. Although I have gained a lot of knowledge from running my previous 8, I am always still trying to learn new and better ways to prepare for "the big race." I know there is a difference of opinions about whether to do a light run the day before a marathon or whether to take it completely off to let your legs have a good day of rest before the race. Some runners may even take a few days off before the marathon to really rest the legs after all their hard training. I, myself, usually do a light 2 mile run the day before a marathon but have been thinking about just giving myself that additional day of rest. I would love to hear from some experienced marathoners to hear some of their insights as to what their "rest routine" is the week of the race and how it worked for them.
I do a gradual three week taper that includes a hard (but fairly short) tempo run each week with everything else being fairly easy. I workout every day, but by the end it's down to less than half an hour plus a few strides. At the end of the taper I have so much energy I can't sleep, so I can't imagine what I'd be like if I didn't run at all. I do a couple miles the day before with some strides.
I also do a three week taper, and I did run the day before. The only change I'm making is that my three week taper will include more intense workouts (with small recoveries) than before. I would highly recommend that you see the book "Advanced Marathoning" which has some thoughts on this, is research based, and has many other great concepts in it too. So far, it's the best book I've found on this (I've only read three others though).
You've gotten a couple of good opinions. Advanced Marathoning (Pfitzinger and Douglas) is certainly a good source, keeping in mind the Advanced part. What it comes to is what works for you. Some of us like to take that day off, some don't. Unfortunately, with so many variables in the marathon, it's hard to experiment. There is evidence to suggest that carb loading and running short recovery runs the last few days enhances glycogen storage for the marathon. See page 44 - 45 of Advanced Marathoning.
Just wanted to thank all who responded to my question regarding running/resting the week of a marathon. It was all very helpful and I will definitely have to peruse the Advanced Marathoning book. It sounds quite interesting. If things go well for me this upcoming weekend at Grandma's, I am thinking about running the Fox Cities Marathon in Appleton, WI and shooting for a sub 3 hour marathon. The book that was recommended definitely sounds like it could be a help in attaining that goal. Thanks again.