Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Taper for Two

This week is the first in a two-week taper towards the Mississauga Marathon on May 15th. In the past I have always done a three-week taper with a pretty significant [excessive] drop in mileage and intensity. After the Toronto Marathon in October, I started questioning whether I may have tapered too much. I decided that I would try a two-week taper next time, without dropping my mileage nearly as much as I had in the past. Running a few very successful races (including a marathon) without tapering reaffirmed this decision.

Tapering means cutting back your training, so that your body can rebuild to peak strength. Tapering allows your muscles to repair the micro-damage of intervals, your energy systems to store up glycogen, your body to overcome the chronic dehydration of hard training, and that last bit of tendonitis in your knee or ankle or hip to finally go away. [Pete Pfitzinger]
 
I know the importance of resting up and recovering, but I have also learned that tapering excessively can lead to feeling "flat" and even out of shape by race day. I need my legs to remember how to work hard and run long. Finding that fine line between "too much" and "too little" is key.
 
This time I am following something very similar to Matt Fitzgerald's approach to taper:
 
Two weeks before race day I run 20 miles. Endurance is the facet of running fitness that always comes hardest to me, so I like to have a fairly recent 20-miler in my legs when I start a marathon.


I maintain the same basic weekly workout structure during the taper as I do during the peak training period, but all of the distances are reduced. I do two high-intensity workouts during the week and a long run on the weekend. This week's key workouts will be roughly 30% shorter than in the preceding week. Next week they will be 50-75% shorter. It's important not to completely eliminate high-intensity running from your training during the taper period, because tapering is not strictly about resting up for your marathon--it's also about priming your body for peak performance.


I'll post a more detailed account of my taper in my next two weekly training recaps.

Over the last couple of years that Hubs and I have been running marathons, we have never had the same goal race. This means, for the first time ever, we are both tapering at the same time. Things are sure to get interesting at our house over the next 10 days - hopefully there won't be any fights over peanut butter or pasta. ;)

At least we'll be able to take turns being on weather-watch!



I know we'll be able to offer one another the moral support we need to stay physically and mentally strong as race day draws near.

The best part will be eating junk food celebrating and recovering together after the big day.

Old pic (2008) but you get the idea!

31 comments:

Lily on the Road said...

Best Wishes sharing taper madness together! You two will have so much fun at the race...GOOD LUCK

Aneta said...

ive also been stalking the weather network. lots can still change!

good luck with tapering. hopefully no taper madness. just relax and enjoy and think about all the hard work you put into this training and u will rock Mississauga!

Running Ricig said...

definitely time to celebrate! have an awesome taper :)

Morgan said...

Welcome to the two week taper, may you enjoy it fully, and may it treat you well! It's worked like a charm for me twice... now if I could only make it there to try it out a third time we'd really be in business...

runningthedawn.com said...

i've never had to face a taper with a spouse who is also tapering. could get interesting :)

when i was following pfitz's plan it was very similar to what you're describing...more of a two week taper, except with the 20 miler an extra week out. i executed it perfectly for grand rapids and was primed and ready for the race.

i've been in AWE of you this whole training cycle and i can't wait to celebrate with you after its all done!

Amy said...

Happy taper to you and Hubs! These weeks are going to fly by!

Heather said...

Hope your marriage survives the joint taper. :)

Runners Fuel said...

Hope everything goes well in your household during the taper weeks!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

I love that you are both RACING on the same day.. Double PR's= Double the Celebration :)

Go get it!!

I AGREE about Taper, I dont like extreme Taper either.

Laura said...

Happy Taper...I'd bring PB to work and hide it there. I haven't started stalking the weather yet...but am close.

Michelle said...

I followed that type of taper and I think it really worked for me. It kept my mental confidence up, but gave my legs much needed rest and recovery. I did a 18 miler two weeks out and then a 10 the week before. I shortened my weekly runs but still did one speed workout each week, just for a shorter distance. My legs felt fresh on race day. I ran 3 on Friday and nothing on Saturday, raced on Sunday! Getting ready to run again today because my legs have felt GREAT! (I've also made up for all the calories I burned and then some!)
You're going to do GREAT! I am excited for you!
TO SUCCEED YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN SOMETHING WITH SUCH A PASSION THAT IT BECOMES A REALITY....THIS IS YOUR REALITY!

Anne said...

Sounds like a great plan...now, remember to enjoy the taper and get ready to celebrate big time!!! This is it :)

Lisa said...

I'll be interested to see how your taper goes. I am writing my plan for St. George in October and I am struggling to get the taper correct. I am thinking about 20, then 16, then 10 then race...it has worked for me in the past. Hmmm...

I'll be following along to see how you do.

good luck!

Emily said...

i love that you're doing it together. i can't wait for the rocketship to join me in an endurance event! TAPER hard!

Denise said...

ooh, having a taper buddy must be fun. makes you feel less crazy. but it could get ugly, i suppose. you both will have a ton to celebrate very shortly! heck, i'm even going to get a bottle of champagne and celebrate out here for you!

N.D. said...

I was reading Katie A's taper info and it sounded like she just keeps the mileage up. It's interesting to see what different people do for the taper. Good luck!!

Rene' said...

Oh my...two people tapering at the same time. I hope that you both make it to the stop alive:)
Good luck. I think that this is going to be your race.

MCM Mama said...

I agree with the two week taper. Sounds like it should really work for you.

Try not to kill your hubby, ok? ;o) Just think of the fun you'll have after the race.

chris mcpeake said...

Good luck with the taper.
I always find it a real love / hate relationship with the taper.

CautiouslyAudacious said...

Love the post picture! Good Luck! Taper is one the hardest phases.

lindsay said...

Taper for two hmmmmm? Something you're leaving to be read "between the lines"??!? Hmmmmm? Is there wifi in the womb now? That would be helpful for checking weather forecasts.

J said...

Fun fun! I can't wait to see how your two week taper goes! I think mine was sort of a two week taper too. Keeping up the intensity is key and I know you are going to do great!

Char said...

I'll be following with interest to see how this modified taper goes. I've only done one for a marathon and felt my body didn't react well to such a dramatic change in routine. You can be the crash test dummy/guinea pig.

Mark said...

Sounds like a great plan!!! Exciting!! I have to agree that a three weeker is too long...

ajh said...

Fun to be tapering with your husband.Good luck.

Richelle said...

Definitely sounds like a plan that will work for you! That's cool that you'll finally get to taper with your hubby... just don't drive each other crazy the next two weeks. ;-)

Nicole said...

Cheers!!! Enjoy taper miss marlene! your gonna ROCK your race! I think i run in cleveland the same day! :)

Margs @ Faster Bunny said...

Sounds like a great plan. And based on your 10k report, you're going to knock this marathon OUT OF THE PARK :).

Julie D. said...

Heck, Ya!! you will definitely be celebrating!! I like this taper perspective and will have to look at it for my next marathon. so excited for you.

dietitianontherun.com said...

So smart! The three week taper has always seemed too long to me, too. I did 21 miles 2 weeks out from the Denver RnR last Fall and had a great race - I felt confident, ready, and definitely well rested! :) ENJOY these next two weeks and keep up doing whatever it is you're doing, because clearly it works!

Run Jess Run said...

Happy taper!