10.20.2012

Getting my taper right

I questioned my taper prior to the Maui Marathon as I find tapering a very hard thing to do. I even put out a call for suggestions/advice and pretty much got the response - when you bonk you will know you didn't taper enough. I got it. There isn't a one size fits all approach and yes, sometimes it is easier to determine what we did wrong that what we did right when it comes to running. Think of it this way, if you eat something and go running and got sick you will most likely say I will never eat X again before running. But if you eat and go running and run well, how often do we say, hey, I am always going to eat Y before running? If you are like me, not often. It is natural to learn from one's mistakes. So let's not fret on that too much.

But back to taper.

I still question if I got my Maui Marathon taper right and ironically post-marathon news and stories of taper started appearing everywhere! Even my Runner's World magazine had a story I "joyfully" read post-marathon. Actually, it took me a bit to delve into the brief article but I finally did with the thought process of how I can improve things come marathon #3. Let's work on the taper!

Why? Because if I apply what the article suggests to my past tapering, I wasn't dead on. I was off. So why not apply the strategies to marathon #3 and see what happens? Sounds fun, right?!

So in a nutshell, this is what I plan to do. But first, take a look at my miles leading up to the Maui Marathon. The marathon was the last day of the 33-mile week. And please note, these training weeks end on Sundays, which is race day, so I am considering the week of the 1 week out week....if that makes any sense.


Three weeks out: I will cut back my weekly mileage by 80-90%. I will see what my mileage is at that time and adjust from there. I will not set a mileage goal today. I will not cut intensity and ease up. Oopsie - I think I kinda did that in the Maui Marathon taper. Hmmm… Instead, I am going to run less but still stay at my easy and training paces. I will still do intervals and work on speed, but not as many. Okay, kinda sounds like how I handle recovery weeks. That makes sense!

3 weeks out
Two weeks out: I will cut back my weekly mileage by 60-70%. The one thing that is unclear from the article is do I do this based on mileage before three weeks out or the previous week? Fortunately I have a little time to figure that one out. Score 1 for planning early! I will still maintain intensity and not ease up in paces, only miles and time of my feet. Definitely know I was easing up quite a bit before the Maui Marathon at this point.

2 weeks out
One week out: Freak out! Just kidding…or not. As I will be freaking out but I will run 50% of my weekly mileage this week. Again, I need to ascertain if this is pre-three weeks out or based on previous week. Perhaps I will just do the math come taper time and then decide. Okay, guess I am not 100% into planning ahead! Now here is where things get fun! According to Runner's World, with a Sunday race I should take a Wednesday rest day. Okay, run a mile day for me. Thursday should be an interval run with 2 x 1-mile at goal pace with 2 minute rest and 4 x 400m at 10K pace with 90 second rest. Friday should be an easy 4 mile run. Saturday should be an easy 4 mile run with 4 x 30 second strides. Wowzers! That is nothing like my final week for the Maui Marathon!

1 week out
The idea is that in that final week I am recharging my legs and getting rid of that heavy, sluggish leg feeling. They even suggest if in your final runs you feel heavy-legged that you perhaps add a little extra and pick up the pace a wee-bit. Go figure!

Of course, all of this has me quite nervous but on some levels, it makes sense. Perhaps my instinct is to over-taper and I can't say I need to change things up with setting a new PR just last month but what if I did change things up and got even better race day performance? What if I followed this plan and shaved off more time? What would you do?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for crock pots.
Daily Affirmation: I am unique, loved, and free!

7 comments:

  1. i wish i was a marathon runner so i could give you some advice that would actually be helpful! either way, i think that you have a great plan in place! you'll never really know exactly what your body is going to do until it does it, so trial and error is really all you can do! i wish you all the best of luck, and i cant wait to see what your results are! have a great rest of your weekend! spa <3

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  2. I cut the mileage by 50% each week, I think cutting it too much makes me feel flat, almost like I stopped running altogether. The first two weeks of the taper I keep speed work and race pace runs in, but they are cut in half distance-wise. Then the final week, I pull the intensity out altogether. Everything easy except maybe 3 mi at race pace.

    Everybody is different though, so tweak something just a little and see if you like it.

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  3. I have only followed one running plan so far, and I kind of bagged the last week of it; I find I tend to do better on race day if I do very little running the week before. Since I'm still pretty new at this, I'll keep working on it too. Hope this upcoming taper goes better than the last!

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  4. I xan't wait until I reach the point that I need to taper. Or even understand what taper is ;-) But general fitness advice is to listen to your body. It'll let you know.

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  5. Thanks for the comments! I really do love to hear what others do!

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  6. I'm not sure I have my taper right yet, either. You are doing a good thing by planning ahead and relying on the experts. I might have to ask for your input when I finally have a race and taper to do!

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  7. Oooh I don't like taper, I just feel like I'm slacking off even though I know I'm doing the right thing. Sounds like your plan is good but since I don't have any advice myself I look forward to hearing what everyone else has to say!

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