I am getting ready for the Lehigh Valley Marathon on September 8, 2013 (I put the year in there for posterity sake). BTW, also the day of my mom’s 85th birthday!!!
My blog post on tapering created a great list of comments that I thought would be helpful, in and of itself, as its own post. So I am posting those comments with links to the sites of those who commented for everyone to read.
I really appreciate those who take time to help and encourage me in my quest. Even if you couldn’t comment on this post, know that I appreciate you and don’t take your reading my blog for granted.
Get Going, Get Running!
Most marathon schedules would have a two or three week taper. As a weekly 50miler you shouldn’t need 3 weeks. Perhaps try to do 30 miles this week and about 15 miles next week, with 2 rest days before the marathon, with a 1 mile run on the day before to keep loose, with another 1 mile before the marathon to warm up and get your head right. All the best for your race!
First, congrats on the progress in your health and running! So great! Next, I love what Jay Johson, Jack Daniels, and the Hansons say about tapering, which basically boils down to a few things. 1) think about it not as “tapering” but as “peaking”…that is, you’re looking for that balance between getting a full recovery without loosing any of the physiological adaptations you’ve worked so hard for. Essential you want to cash in on as much of your fitness as possible 2) The 14-21 days taper concept is designed for elites who are training up to 12hrs per week or more and 100 miles per week or more, not us age-groupers, and three 3) don’t forget the mental preparation
From the studying I’ve been doing, talking to lots of experienced runners, and some self-experimentation, it looks like a safe combo for you would be something like a moderate decrease in mileage 2 weeks out (say from 50mi to 35-40mi) with your last hard workout/run (e.g. repeats, tempo etc) 10 days out from race day (that’s how long 100% recovery/physiological adaptation takes), and long run with some strides thrown in there (12mi?), then the last week 3-4 runs between 3 and 8 miles, again with some strides here and there to keep your turnover practiced, totally something like 20-25 miles for the week by the time you get to the start of your race.
The day before, I usually like to run an easy 3 miles, but you could get the same benefit more or less doing some leg swings and light dynamic stretched when you take pit-stops during your car journey…you’ll want to protect your back and hips nice from getting tight from all that driving.
And finally, visualize. Prepare your mind and expectations.
So, that’s the longest comment I’ve ever left, I hope there is something in here that will be helpful! Clearly, I’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot this year! And, I’ve got a marathon in 8 days! Gah!
Best of luck!
(no link to site)
I’ve found that keeping legs fresh while tapering is strangely hard – so while I cut back on my miles, I’ll end several runs each week with strides/accelerations – I’ll do 4-6 that are between 50-100 meters long. These are not a sprint – rather a build up to a tolerable fast pace (thus the name “acceleration”!!)
And congrats to you and your wife on the massive changes to your health/life!!!!
EARLY TO RISE RUNNER
Have to be honest – I SUCK at tapering. Mainly because I can’t taper my appetite to save my life so I keep running to keep the weight off. With that being said, since your body is feeling fatigued already, I would cut your miles down to 30 this week. And the next week I would run Monday and Wednesday – no more than 6 miles. When you get to your destination on Friday, go run 2-3 miles just to loosen your legs up. Saturday, I would probably do another 2-3 miles very EASY.
The key is this – at this point, you aren’t improving your fitness level. You are trying to rest your body and get your head on straight, while reminding your muscles of the job they have to do. Do what feels right for you – if you are fatigued, dial it back. If something hurts, stretch and take an off day. Now’s the time to begin fueling your body with good food choices and lots of water. And try to squeeze in some extra sleep (something else that is darn near impossible for me).
You can do this! Just think of that cooler weather you will be heading to!
sf road warrior
At some point someone I trusted suggested 80%-60%-40% (of peak mileage) for the last three weeks before the race, so that’s pretty much what I’ve always done & it’s worked fine enough for me. But I also think it’s way, WAY smarter to err on the side of tapering too much rather than too little — when I’ve had particularly sore or heavy legs during taper or something was hurting, I would take extra rest days without a second thought (since fresher legs are always better, & at this point missing one or two shorter runs is pretty much guaranteed not to affect your race).
I’m Going Slightly Mad
I’m sure it’s different for a full marathon vs a half marathon, but I did 48 miles this week and for my last two weeks of tapering, I’m supposed to do between 30-33 miles each week. (This week, my third to last, is about 36 miles to run). You may need to recover more for the much longer race.