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Tapering Anyone? (Read 847 times)


Marathonmanleto

    With marathon season in full swing some of us are tapering. This is as much of a grey area for many of us as the "hard weeks". What works best for you?
    Scout7


    CPT Curmudgeon

      Actually, this was the first time I tapered for anything. I generally just try to run with less effort the week or day before. Or nothing the day before. Other than that, not really sure.
        I haven't run a marathon in over 2 years but what I would do is reduce the length of my last 2 long runs a bit and reduce the intensity of my last 2 mid-week workouts. That's about it. Tapering too much is probably one of the top three biggest mistakes made by the average marathoner. It is one of those areas of training where its a mistake for Joe and Jane marathoner to try and copy the training of elites and scale it down to their level. Most of the popular "average joe" marathon plans call for too much tapering, IMO. Everyone de-trains at different rates but *most* people (myself included) would be better off tapering less than is called for in many marathon training plans.

        Runners run.

        vicentefrijole


          Interesting opinion, mikeymike! I don't have enough experience to decide if I agree or not... but I do know that there are extremes that should be avoided. Before my most recent marathon (last weekend) I hardly ran at all for the 3 weeks prior due to a hamstring injury... that's about as extreme a taper as you can do! And I know I paid for it in terms of endurance (though my hamstring did heal enough to finish, so it's all relative). However, I've always been a big fan of a true taper... I can run a pre-marathon test run 2 weeks before (pre-taper) and I don't feel nearly as strong (or do nearly as well) as I do the day of the marathon (post-taper). That little bit of rest can REALLY improve performance (and prevent injury, I suspect). But, of course, everything in moderation.
            I hope this thread gets a lot of replies - because I could use the info. Tapering time is quickly approaching. I'm convinced my last marathon was so abysmal because I did everything wrong in the taper. I plan to fix that this time around. Here's a simple question: what's your opinion on the timing of the last long run or last speedwork? I've seen plans suggesting the last long run anywhere from 2-4 weeks, with most of the debate between the 2 and 3 week crowd. Your thoughts, por favor? Another question: the monkey run on 11/19 is extremely hilly - and most of my recent runs have been in the same hills. But it's punishing to the legs. As part of the taper, at what point do I lay off the hills? None in the last 2-3 weeks? One more specific question: diet. And carbo-loading. I have a much better idea what I'm doing in this aspect this time around (this is how I really screwed myself last time), but I'd still like to hear what's worked - or not worked - for some of you. Thanks, MarathonManLeto - perfect timing for a really good thread. Smile
            E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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            Marathonmanleto

              Thanks guys. I am only really taking it easy this week. My runs are short (4-5 miles) but I'm running at or near race pace and have run every day this week. I plan to take off Saturday only. Detroit Free Press Marathon is Sunday...will let you know how it works.
                I don't think its a matter of last long run or last workout. I still do long runs and workouts during taper, they are just not as long and not as intense. So I might do an 18 or 20 miler (perhaps even a 30K or 20-mile race) about 3-weeks out, then a 16-17-miler 2 weeks out, then a 13-14 miler a week out from the race. Each of these would go in my log as a "long" run. Some are just longer than others. The same goes for workouts. I'm generally not doing much "speedwork" in prep for a marathon, but I'm doing marathon specific workouts--MP runs or MP intervals, or progression runs that go from just slower than MP and work down to tempo pace at the end. If a big mid-week workout was 13 with a 6 mile progression run at the end, I might do 10-12 with a 3 mile progression 10 days out, and then 9 with 2-3 miles progression 4 days out. The old addage that it takes 10-days to reap the benefits of a workout is simply false. The time it takes to recover from a workout (and therefore reap the benefits) is a matter of intesity, which is a combination of duration and pace. Very hard workouts take longer to recover from than easy workouts. As for hills, I think the week before the race I'd try to do most of my mileage on flat or gently rolling terrain. I don't make any changes to diet before a marathon. Carbo loading has more to do with the way your body will top off its glycogen stores as you taper training a bit. You really don't need to do much different if you've been eating well all along. The marathon is a different animal from most events because it is outside of most of our fuel windows and it will totally deplete our glycogen and electrolytes and beat us up pretty good. But the pricipals are the same for other race distances as well. I will apply the same ideas to my goal race this season which happens to be a half marathon. I will do a 1-week mini taper in which I reduce the intensity of my Sunday long run the week before (so instead of including 5 x 2 miles at HMP I might do 3 x 2 miles), and slightly reduce the intensity of my wednesday workout that week (so instead of 7 x 1000m at Tempo, I might do 4-5 x 1000m). Other than that, no real changes.

                Runners run.

                Scout7


                CPT Curmudgeon

                  Tapering is a very individualistic thing. I've read stuff that says no running the day before, or something easy the day before, or something short but high-intensity the day before. I've heard that tapers start 3 weeks out, or 2 weeks out. I think the real trick to it all is that in the week before, you should be about ready to bounce off the walls. Your runs should be easy, and probably relatively short. I know, the week heading into Baltimore, I was a like a Superball all week. My wife kept asking if I was ok. It was tough. And I think the toughest part of it is sticking to a taper. Most people start out doing ok, then feel they've lost fitness, or because they have so much energy they just burn through all the runs that week, killing the taper itself. You won't lose your level of fitness in a significant degree in a week. Trust me.


                  Needs more cowbell!

                    I had an AWESOME last taper run, this AM. I only went just under 3 miles, but I was going fast (for me) and it felt easy and GOOD! If that is a taste of how my HM will go on Sunday, then I am totally psyched!!! Today's run was a total morale boost and I have no doubt that my HM is going to be a very positive experience (assuming I don't throw all common sense to the wind and go out too fast, like I did for my 10 mile race 6 weeks ago--but I think that was a good learning experience in what NOT to do to have a great longer race). k

                    I shoot pretty things! ~

                    '14 Goals:

                    • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                    vicentefrijole


                      Today's run was a total morale boost and I have no doubt that my HM is going to be a very positive experience (assuming I don't throw all common sense to the wind and go out too fast, l
                      Awesome! Sounds like you're in good shape, ZZ! That's a big benifit of the taper run... it leaves your muscles happy, healthy, and itching for more... even the simplest run becomes very positive. The side affect of that is it's easy to get all excited and go out way too fast. I do this ALL the time! It's really hard to control! Does anyone have any tricks to keep themselves from going out too fast? I'd be eager to hear what works for others. I wear a watch to pace myself, but since they only provide markers at every MILE with most courses, I tend to do my first mile way too fast before I pull back to the proper pace. (I know, I know, rookie mistake..)


                      Needs more cowbell!

                        Does anyone have any tricks to keep themselves from going out too fast? I'd be eager to hear what works for others. I wear a watch to pace myself, but since they only provide markers at every MILE with most courses, I tend to do my first mile way too fast before I pull back to the proper pace. (I know, I know, rookie mistake..)
                        I'd love to know the answer to this, as well. I went out way too fast on my 10 mile race and miles 2-5 were positively awful. By the time I was feeling better I had lost a LOT of time and ended up doing sorta miserably. I have no doubt that if I had been more careful during those early miles that I would have ended up with a better time--both in terms of the clock and physically. k

                        I shoot pretty things! ~

                        '14 Goals:

                        • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                        • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                          You have to practice race pace. No matter what distance you're training for, do a lot of training at that pace and do some of it on the track or on a very accurately measured course where there is constant feedback. One of the things you're trying to drill into your head in workouts is how EASY race pace should feel at the beginning. Then on race day, try to go out even slower than that.

                          Runners run.


                          A Dance with Monkeys

                            When possible, I generally taper for 2 weeks. No more, unless I have a work schedule that forces a longer taper, or unless I have been running a lot of back-to-back marathons. Jake, for the Monkey? Just keep running. Maybe no hills two weeks before and fewer miles the week before.
                              Jake, for the Monkey? Just keep running. Maybe no hills two weeks before and fewer miles the week before.
                              Roger, Roger. What's your vector, Victor?
                              E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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