Since I have blindly followed the FIRST plan during my first marathon training cycle, I have not put too much thought into tapering and just followed what those guys had in the plan. This time around, I kinda sorta made my own plan, based on FIRST, which means that I had to figure out how to taper.
Here is how my plan looked like, on average:
M: 10 miles with 3-4 miles speed intervals;
W: 8-10 miles with 3-6 tempo (3@ 5K or less, 4 @ 1oK or less, 6@ HMP or less) OR 10-12 MP;
Th: 4 miles recovery on trails;
Sat: 13-22 miles progressively faster during training cycle. ( actually I ended up doing 6 20-22 milers!!)
On top of running, I managed to squeeze in 15-45 miles biking, and/or 2-5 miles swimming, as well as 2 weekly sessions of core and strengthening.
I did some research on line re: tapering, and have learned that:
1) marathon taper should be 3 weeks long (check!)
2) marathon taper should focus on decreasing mileage rather than intensity; intensity should not change much (check!); not doing speed work/fartlecks during taper leads to loss of fitness.
3) one should decrease mileage by 20% 3 weeks before marathon, 40% 2 weeks before the marathon, and 60% week of marathon; The decrease should be based on the peak marathon mileage (e.g., 46 miles for me).
4) carbo loading is not a requirement IF one takes calories during the marathon. If one wants to carbo load, simplest way is to warm up and than run a 6 min interval followed by 30 sec sprint 2 days before marathon, and immediately follow that with carbs; also, try to eat mostly carbs these 2 days before the marathon (this is from M Fitzgerald, Cutting Edge Running).
5) self care is very important: minimize stress, eat well, sleep a ton, visualize, think positively, you know the drill!
6) no strength training during the week of the marathon.
I did not find much info on tapering the cross training, but the folks who create FIRST were nice enough to email about this. Their advice was to decrease time spent cross training during the last week only, and use a lower gear for the bike workouts.
So I am planning on keeping my workouts as they are, and just decreasing the mileage based on the rule in #3). I'll do a 15 miler with 14 @ MP this weekend, than a 10-12 @ MP next weekend, and run a total of 12-15 miles the week of the marathon. I'll keep the rest of the workouts as are , so I will have speed and tempos even in the week of the marathon.
I tend to completely lose my appetite during taper, and also I tend to get sick (I have a mild cold now). I am very calm about this marathon, which is different than how I was last time, but I think it's because I don't put that much importance on it. Whatever will happen will happen. I am going to Boston any way. I absolutely loved the training, and the race is just the prize, a chance to run hard on fresh legs, an take myself a bit outside of my comfort zone if I so feel during that day.
What works for you during marathon tapering? What does not? Advice? Thoughts? Bring 'em on!!!
Due to a math error (oops...I actually am really good at math) I ended up running 11 miles on Monday, with 8X800m @ 6:20-6:24 (1:30 RI between sets). Easy! Really! I love the track! But, my legs felt weak (not sore) today, and my 15 mile hilly bikeride seemed hard. My legs are begging for rest, so I need to listen to them! I feel fresh mentally, which is very different than how I felt during my previous marathon training cycle, when I was ready to taper. What can I say, I can't get enough of this running thing!
Building a clock
8 months ago