This maybe something that season runners know what to do, but for rookies I believe this come in very handy especially for those training for their maiden marathon in Singapore.
This is an article extracted out from - The Running Times: Training Newsletter Oct 2006
Training Tip of the Month - Your last long run
While marathon training is a foundation made of many bricks, the keystone workout, physically and mentally, is your last long run. Most coaches agree that ideally it should be three weeks out from the race, or, at the closest, two weeks out. Depending on your training plan, it ranges in length from 18 to 26 miles (28k to 41k), although the vast majority of coaches cap the long runs at 22 miles (35k). As for speed, you'll also find numerous opinions, ranging from an easy, conversational pace to the full distance at race pace. Among top coaches I've interviewed or read, a progression run strategy seems to be the most widely held, and the most reasonable method of accomplishing the goals of both getting in the distance without undue stress and simulating race pace when fatigued. This method begins at a comfortable pace, approximately 20% slower than race pace, and gradually increases during the second half to either race pace or just under (approximately 10% slower than race pace) during the last five miles. The last long run should leave you confident that you can accomplish your goal. Now comes the hardest part of training mentally: the taper, as you cut back to let your body build for the big day.
- Jonathan Beverly, Editor