Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Taper Talk

With my next marathon only a few days away, I thought it would be a good time to talk about tapering.  Most marathon training programs have a weekly mileage peak around 2-4 weeks before the race.  I think three weeks is ideal, but this can be moved by one week in either direction if work, travel, or family commitments preclude a 20 mile run exactly three weeks before the race.  Tapering is critical to any successful program.  One of the many challenges in marathon running is showing up to the starting line healthy and fresh.  Many novice runners experience a great deal of anxiety the weeks before the marathon and question whether they have trained enough.  It can be difficult to resist the temptation to get one last long run in the week before the race.  I've seen people who make the mistake of running 16 miles just a few days before the race!  It's important to trust that the fitness gains you've made over the course of a 16-18 week program will carry you through on race day.

My typical taper looks like this:

Week     M            T     W     T     F             S      S
3            REST      5      4      4     REST      8     12
2            REST      4      3      3     REST      6      8
1            REST      3      2      2     REST  REST  RACE

This program has been adapted from Hal Higdon's website.  I've posted a link to his website on this blog.  

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