It’s Taper Time! (Alone and Naked at the Track)

Two weeks before the marathon and I’m now in taper mode. After Saturday’s half marathon, I decided to take off on Sunday and do Yin Yoga. Yesterday, I didn’t do a damn thing. I planned on doing “something,” but it just didn’t happen. Tuesday’s are our normal track workout days, but our training group was having a celebration for all those who ran in the Baltimore Running Festival today. While I wanted to be with my runners, I needed to stay disciplined and stick with the training. So, I went to the track, alone and naked. No, not naked as in not wearing clothes, but naked as in no running belt, no cell phone, no inhaler, no iPod, nothing…oh wait! I had my Garmin, so I guess I was semi-naked.

Now that I’m in taper, it’s starting to set in…11 days until the Marathon! ACK!!!  Here is my plan for the rest of this week:

Tuesday (today) – Track

There are several track workouts I could choose from:

  1. 4 x 800 meters at 5K race pace, with a 400-meter jog between repeats
  2. 6 x 400 meters at slightly faster than 5K race pace, with a 400-meter jog between repeats
  3. 2 x 1 mile at 10K race pace, with an 800-meter jog between repeats
  4. 400, 800, 1200, 1200, 800, 400 (w/easy 400 between)

Today, I picked #4 per suggestion of my coach. To switch it up a bit, I ran in the opposite direction (clockwise) during the 1200’s. I actually liked it a lot better! When I ran in the normal direction (counter-clockwise) I was actually a little disoriented. It was nice to switch it up a bit. Running alone was actually refreshing. All I had was the sound of my clomping feet and my asthmatic weezing breathing (Note to self: carry inhaler when running).

Wednesday – 4 miles

Thursday – Yin Yoga

Friday – Cross training with my personal trainer

Saturday – 8 – 10 miles

I find it difficult to stay disciplined during taper. I want to either do more than I should or do nothing at all, and I want to EAT everything in sight! Which is not what you want to do. Over the next week I’ll share what I’m doing along with some tips that I found about tapering. One of the most interesting articles I found was “Don’t Taper. Peak!”

It’s an old article from 2008, but I think Greg McMillan was on to something. Here’s a quick excerpt of what he wrote. I highly recommend reading the rest of his article.

1.  Secret: Don’t change your weekly running routine

Our bodies and minds like routine. If you run four days per week, then run four days per week during your peaking phase. If you run six, then run six. You’ll feel flat if you suddenly run less frequently than normal.

2.  Secret: Reduce weekly training volume, but not too much

Over the last 10-14 days before your race, you should progressively reduce the volume of your running. Two weeks out from the race, I like to reduce the daily volume by 10-20 minutes or so.

3.  Secret: Keep the engine revved

While we may want to reduce the volume of running, we do not want to reduce the intensity of our workouts. In fact, we may want the intensity to increase. You want to keep your engine revved, the pumps primed.

4.  Secret: Plan your strategy and stick with it

Most distance runners have the same race strategy — start conservative, build into race pace, run as efficiently as possible and get as deep in the race as possible before you have to pull out your superman or superwoman powers to get you to the finish line.

5.  Secret: Reflect on training to build confidence

I like athletes to reflect on training in two ways. First, think back on a particularly tough workout, something where you didn’t feel great but you gutted it out. You were tough. This shows that you can do it. You are tough. You can handle the ups and downs of running and get to the finish line.

6.  Secret: Have fun and smile

I love #6. Later this week, I’ll talk about tapering mistakes and eating during taper.

11 Days! Is that it?!?!?


4 thoughts on “It’s Taper Time! (Alone and Naked at the Track)

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