>Racing>Half marathon v. marathon taper
Could someone please explain the large difference in the amount of taper time between most half marathon programs and most marathon programs? It seems that in the former, tapers are at the most a week and a half, while they are twice as long for the full. I find it hard to wrap my head around the simple "twice the distance, twice the taper" explanation.
Doesn't seem mysterious to me. A typical person's stored glycogen runs out at around 20 miles, so for a marathon, one wants the maximum possible energy to be available to the muscles prior to the race. It's not an issue for shorter races, but a bit of rest can be helpful, for other reasons.
Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.
Also, most half marathon plans don't have the volume of running that full marathon plans do. When you factor in that, plus the even-longer long runs, a little extra time to recover before the race makes sense.
That said, "weekend warrior" plans (where a large amount of miles are run on the weekend, by percentage) like Higdon's plans have a more significant taper than do Pfitzinger, Hansons, or other plans where the mileage is more spread out.
"When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." Emil Zatopek
If the goal of the taper is help one be fully recovered, fully fueled and toe the line fresh...the half marathon tapers in the plans I've seen (admittedly few) seem far too long.
I would run down the lane and into the night; Run so fast I swear my feet would fly; But the smell of the world came into my lungs; The sound of the gravel when my legs went numb; And my heart nearly burst right out of my chest...
I think most canned program tapers are far too long! I taper 2 weeks for a marathon and 4 days for a half.
It's not so much the difference of distance but that of intensity and distance together, of total effort. Tapering - reducing miles while maintaining intensity - is intended to reduce fatigue so you are rested but not detrained. A half marathon is a hard effort but not an utterly draining one - typically you should be able to go for an easy run the next day, or the day after that. A marathon is a real assault on the body, and you want to have all your resources topped off, as it were.
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PRs: 5K 21:03 (4/2012) 10K 43:06 (12/2011) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)
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