Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I am finally feeling a little more normal so I am going to look forward to running again. When I do, I'll be tapering until the marathon. Kara is also tapering to get ready for her marathon, which is a week before mine. Go tell her good luck and look at her pics of her adorable baby. She asked me to post about tapering. I am about as far as you can get from an expert, and I've only run one marathon and trained for two halfs, but I can tell you what I did.

From what I understand, tapering is when you start giving your body a rest from all the super hard training to save up some energy for the main event. I've also read the phrase "topping of glycogen stores" which seems to translate into eating lasagna, so I like this part. For my two half marathons, I tapered for two weeks, and for my marathon, I tapered for 3. I would have done that for this one too, although I guess my sinuses and lungs decided it would be a little more extended.

My taper experience has started as soon as the longest distance run has ended, so for the marathon, the last 20 miler was 3 weeks before the race, and then it was downhill. The mileage started to reduce, although the intensity was the same. So, for example, last week was supposed to follow this schedule:
M -5 miles easy
T - Track workout
W - 5 miles easy or cross train
Th - 8 mile tempo workout
F- rest or cross train 
S - 21 mile run 
Su - 7 mile recovery run
and this week would follow this schedule

M -4 miles easy
T - Track workout
W - 4 miles easy or cross train
Th - 6 mile tempo workout
F- rest or cross train 
S - 15 mile run 
Su - 5 mile recovery run
The mileage will keep reducing next week, with the long run being only 10 miles. The big thing is you are tempted to do more, sort of like cramming for a test, but DON'T. Save it for the race. This is also the time when you really want to focus on eating healthy and hydration (even more than during the rest of training) and some people do things like give up alcohol and caffeine (I'll never give up caffeine, I continue right up until race day morning ). 

I also learned that you need to carbo - load TWO days before race day, never the night before (you don't want to feel your pasta bouncing around for 26.2 miles). Last time I did a really easy run, maybe 3-4 miles two days before the race, but really tried to stay off my feet the day before, and wore sneakers all day, no flats or boots or non supportive footwear.  I'll probably post more on my pre - marathon routine when it gets closer.

This is a really good article on tapering that I recommend for anyone training for a race.,7120,s6-238-244--10201-1-1X2X3X4-5,00.html

What things do you ALWAYS do before a race?


  1. Besides freak out just before it starts, I always *try* to get up extra early to eat breakfast so I'm not running within an hour or hour and a half of eating. It gives the ole bowels more time to do it's work. (Not that it worked at all for my last half, but it has worked before at least.)

    Also, oatmeal and a banana seems to work best for me when it comes to breakfast.

  2. I ALWAYS get up with enough time on race morning to *ahem* get things moving in the bathroom department. Once I get that done, I feel ready to conquer the race. If I ever wake up constipated on race day, I'm f*cked. :)

    Thanks for posting this!!

  3. 3 weeks of tapering! Aw man, I'm going to go crazy without any hard runs for 3 weeks. Just another reason I am not a model marathoner...I would selfishly rather keep getting my endorphin high the weeks before a marathon than tone it down and increase my chances of performing well on race day.

    I am going to go read that tapering article, and unless it really convinces me, I will probably taper for like 4 days...

  4. Yay for tapering=getting close=you are going to do amazing! I can't remember what I did before my races...thats not

  5. I still have some time until my first marathon (mid June) but I am definitely going to be doing some tapering (and lasagna eating)!


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