How much do I taper for my marathon in 2 weeks?

Yesterday I had a much needed day off.  I took a vacation day from work and slept until 7:30.  Of course today I’m back up at 3:45 AM, but I am feeling more awake and less run down.

This leads me into a question I’ve been dealing with and if you marathon runners would like to help, I’d appreciate it.


I know tapering is a difficult thing.  My question is, how much and when.  I am 50 years old and have been running since March 2012.  I’m averaging 50 miles a week.  I want to run this marathon as well as I can and don’t want to under or over taper.  My marathon is 2 weeks from tomorrow.  Also I am physically tired from the workouts and long runs (as I assume everyone is at the time in training).  My hip is still bothering me and my right achilles isn’t doing that great.

So any ideas on tapering for an old guy?  🙂

On to a few other things since I missed my post yesterday.

I went to pick up some vitamins from the doctor that helped my Lovely Wife and me lose close to 100 lbs each.  I hadn’t seen his receptionist in a couple months and I was in my running clothes as I wanted to run a bike path near work.  As I walked in and she saw me, her first comment was, “You are virtually unrecognizable”.  The weight loss and the running seems to have made a big difference.  It made me feel good.

Also, I had a great run on the bike path.  I ran 5 miles, 4 of which were under a 7:45 pace.

That is about it.  I’ve got to get ready to meet Neill (@BigBigGeek) at the state park to run with him on his long run.  Last week it was so nice to run and talk.  I’m looking forward to doing this again.

2 weeks from tomorrow is the Lehigh Valley Marathon.  I can’t wait!!!

Did running in compression socks make me dizzy?

You might be able to tell from the title of this post that it was a rough run yesterday.  I was so excited to try out my new compression socks that I got from a local retailer and see how they would help my running.  Specifically I want to try and help my legs on long runs to have better endurance.  The sales guy from the local store said these socks are made for running and specifically long distance runs like a marathon.

Here is a list of several things that may have contributed to my difficult run:

  • Hottest day of the week.  Monday it was in the high 70s and Tuesday in the low 70s.  Yesterday it was back up in the high 80s.
  • I didn’t drink as much water as usual.  I drank 64 oz of water rather than my goal of 96 oz.
  • I had a bad night sleep.  I woke up at 1:00 AM and did manage to get back to sleep, but it was not a very restful sleep.
  • Low carb eating.  I was at my lowest weight ever (176 lbs) and have eaten very few carbs.  Usually if I get below 180, I have difficult runs.

That said, I have NEVER felt as I did yesterday.  I ran a bit fast in the beginning which was not good.  Then as I hit the 3 mile mark, I got light headed and felt really strange.  It was almost like I was in a dream as I ran.  I tried to keep going and did for another half mile, but I got weak and really tired, so I gave up on the run at that point.  After I got home and rested, I felt fine.

So it could be a coincidence that I got so dizzy in my new compression socks.  I know others who swear by them and several other bloggers have suggested I try them.  I will say that my legs felt more relaxed and it seemed to me that I didn’t need to put as much energy into my legs in order to run.  At least that was my impression.

So did my compression socks cause this problem or was it circumstantial?

I have a 7 mile run today and I plan to use them again, so I guess I’ll find out the answer… maybe.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Have a great weekend!

When should I take my running day off?

Yesterday was a good day.  I ran 7 miles and about half way through came across TJ and we ran the last half together.  I was trying to run a bit slower run as I have had a long week since my last off day was last Saturday and I’ve been running ever since.

I am still struggling with how to work my off day.  The way I see it, I have 3 options.

  1. Take Saturday off:  This would help with keeping me fresh for my long run Sunday morning and since I am increasing my mileage on Sundays I think this is important.
  2. Take Monday off:  After a long run, it really helps to have that day after off for recovery.  This week I ran Monday after a 15 mile run on Sunday and, though it didn’t go badly, I was tired all week and I wonder if I just never fully recovered from that long of a run (my longest to date).
  3. Take Saturday and Monday off:  This was my Big Brother’s suggestion on the phone yesterday afternoon.  He mentioned this in context of my long runs getting longer and said it might help overall.

I must say, I think choice #3 will eventually be the way to go.  I hate losing a day of running, especially as I am trying to increase my mileage, but since taking Saturday and Monday off both have positive effects, I think it might be a good idea.

What am I doing next week?  I am taking today off as I said earlier, and I will probably take Monday off.  I think next Saturday I will try a short easy run just to keep things moving.  As we hit the summer heat, I will probably enjoy the Saturday early run when it is somewhat cooler.

I don’t usually solicit advice directly in this blog, however if anyone has any thoughts about how to prepare for a marathon and or about when to take off days, I’d appreciate the input.  

Remember that I am a 50 year old man wanting to run my first marathon in September at 3:30 (8:00 pace).  At least that is my goal so I can qualify for Boston – as if you didn’t know that by now.



The running/carbs balance – Ugh

Today is a much needed day off.  I ran a lot last week and I feel it.  The good news is that my hip hasn’t been hurting much and I am still taking no meds for pain!!!  The bad news is that I carbed out over the weekend.  Yes, I eat Pizza and a couple cupcakes and…  I won’t go on, you get the picture.

As I was running Thursday and Friday, I could feel that my carbs were low.  Those runs we not easy and I felt like I was doing everything I could just to keep going.  Friday night I bought the family some pizza.  I was famished. I had 5 pieces.  The rest of the weekend, I didn’t do much better.

I gained 4 lbs over the weekend.  I assume some will leave if I eat well this week, but with 2 work lunches and a work breakfast on the calendar this week, it is going to be hard.

Anytime I hit a wall, I try to figure out how to get over that wall.  My plan this time is to eat my low carb diet this week, but eat 1 whole wheat bagel each day.  These bagels got an A- on my Fooducate app, so I thought I’d give them a try.  My thought here is that one bagel a day will give me enough carbs that I won’t go crazy by the weekend and I can continue running without feeling like my legs are going to collapse.  Since today is my day off, I won’t eat one today, but starting tomorrow, I am going to give it a try and see if I can’t reach some type of balance.

I hate this whole running/dieting thing.  According to my app, I used up 1,400 calories in my run yesterday, and I still gained 2 lbs from what I eat.  This is crazy if you ask me – which you didn’t – which is why I am writing about it in my blog in order to blow off some steam.

Thanks for listening – reading – whatever.

Ultimately, balance is the key.  It is the key to life, running, eating, sleeping, just about everything.  I hope I can figure out the balance between eating and running.  If anyone has ever been successful in this area, let me know.

What warmup should be done for a half marathon?

It was a different type of workout yesterday preparing for our race on Sunday morning.  The training is called a Fartlek and for us, it began with a warmup, then 1:00 at half marathon pace and 1:00 at regular pace.  I did this 5 times and then headed home.  It was good and I ran the workout well, but I think I was a bit worn out from my excellent run the day before and I didn’t want to overdue it.

Now on to my question.  I don’t normally ask questions that I want answers to, but if anyone has a suggestion, I’d appreciate it.

We run our first half marathon on Sunday (our longest race to date is 5K) and I would like to know if anyone has warmup ideas before the race.  For our 5Ks we usually get there an hour early and run a couple of slow warmup miles (we like to run the end of the race back and forth so we know what we will face at the end of the race), then hit the Porta Potties and head to the starting line and do some stretching.

This seems to work really well for the 5K, but is it the same for a half marathon?

Does anyone have a warmup for a half marathon that works well?

Today is my last run before the race.  I’ll take tomorrow off to be fresh for Sunday morning.  2 days and counting.

I love running a lot.  Races make it even more fun.