The Taper Is Here

I'm running my first marathon in 3 weeks time (London) and have begun my taper I know many runners are already tapering for other marathons. I know after 3 hard months of training the reduction in mileage will help my body rest and recover and will allow me to get to the start line in the best shape of my life.

How do you deal with your taper? After over a year of running on average it is going to be odd to gradually reduce mileage. What do you do with the extra time on your hands? Share your taper survival tips or just use this thread as a way to wile away the excess hours.

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Comments

  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    I picked up a strain on my last 20 miler just before the taper so mine was more of a precautionary halt than a taper.

    I'm currently using the spin bike to keep aerobic fitness and revisiting my relatively poor stretching and floor work. I'll return to running but long runs and speed work are out for me. The most I hope to do is marathon pace segments within medium length runs or short-ish recovery jogs.

    Main focus is recovery getting to the start line in good nick. Like you its my first marathon experience so I really dont want to bugger it up by getting too excited right now.

    I do most of my running early in the morning so its not hard to wake up a little later I guess

     

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    I find the taper a great time to worry excessively about everything.

  • will be my first ( and last ) London marathon in 3 weeks .... ran the GADE VALLEY HARRIERS  20 mile training run yesterday and felt surprisingly well .. ... cant wait for the big day but like you all say ---- I don't understand this tapering stuff .suppose ill just ease up, lower milage and massage/look after tired legs

    I totally respect the marathon distance now ! and good luck to all ..

  • I think I'm going to invest in a cattle prod for if/when ill people start to invade my personal space.  Or I might just avoid people altogether. 

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Im on day 9 of a cold and started taper today. That hopefully means taper will give me a chance to get better and I shouldn't have a cold for race day!

  • First marathon is Brighton - less than 2 weeks now image.  My mileage has been significantly reduced since early feb due to injury, so I'm not sure how much I'll need to taper.  Last weekend's 'long' was 12 inc parkrun (pb woop woop), easy 8 today, then I'll probably do a shortish tempo on Thursday then take it easy with a bit of swimming to keep me busy for the next 10 days.

    Maybe that will allow sufficient rest for my hip to ease up.  Already planning next years schedule with an emphasis on injury avoidance.

    House has been awash with germs for the last couple of weeks, but so far I've managed to avoid catching anything.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    what time are you thinking in the circumstance Lou?

  • not long now Lou well done on the parkrun pb I was thinking of a pb attempt as it is my parkrun's birthday this weekend. Last weekend was supposed to be a 20 miler for us as well Nayan but pulled out at 14 due to a tight hip causing IT Band pain (IT Band has been a curse all through training). Hope the taper is going well for anyone else out there with less running time than they have grown accustomed to.

  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    From what I read, weak gluteus medius might have contributed to my TFL niggle  - the theory is that if glutes dont stabilise your hips well enough, the TFL work extra hard to compensate.

    I have noticed Gluteus medius complaining before duriung a long run or big week. Thinking back, I even had one episode where I had pain on the outside of the right knee too. Given that the TFL's job is to pull in your IT Band, and that band joins on the outside of the knee I start to see a pattern.

    I'm using the taper stretch and work on these stablising muscles, though not overdoing anything of course. It seems that weak glutes are a common problem.

  • Nayan I would defiantly find a physio or someone who knows for sure. The internet is useful but isn't always the best, a good physio is worth his weight in gold and will also show you some strengthening exercises. The strengthening exercises will help any imbalance obviously being close to race day nothing can be guaranteed but a professional could help. What marathon are you doing Nayan?

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Good plan re the spin bike, thats my home when im injured.

    Id certainly be straight to a physio if I were you.

    On that topic, as i have never tapered before (im following a schedule with a taper plan), what do people do re things like sports massages. Im thinking of booking one in for circa 6 days before London and then another one a few days after.

     

  • I'm coping by sticking to my (pretty much set in stone) schedule of four runs a week, on the same days, but just reducing intensity and/or distance so hopefully, it shouldn't feel too much different to how it has, but I just won't be as tired or as achey.

    I'm also looking to PB at Park Run, but this probably isn't recommended practice.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    the p and d schdule im following has a race of upto 10k in it on the first saturday of taper. Most seem to be going for a parkrun pb attack though. So your in good company.

  • I also want a parkrun PB off the back of marathon training Cotswold but not sure if its wise but recovery after a 5k is no time so I think it should be ok. Regarding spin bikes I have never tried one but I am doing an extra swimming session to keep up my cardio

  • 3 weeks to go to The Great Welsh Marathon , last 20 miler was on Sunday, got a half marathon pb the previous Sunday, followed a 12 week plan this time which I think has helped me stay focused, now its just a matter of easing down the miles , staying out of public places, avoiding my children,avoiding your children , cooking my own food, using my own utensils, trying to stay germ and injury free, anyone else get a little nuts at taper time ??image

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Taper time is always fun. In just over a week i`ve had phantom calf strains, tight hamstrings, a cold etc. Im sure its all my mind plaing tricks on me.

    With lower milage I have also had time to clear out loads of old stuff to give to the charity shop and tidied the office.
  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    Yes. I recon all that strain of juggling a diary and trying to fit all the long runs in around 'other stuff' is a big mental part of training for a set date. Once you've done that last long run and know everything else is now just staying topped up your mind will play all sorts of games.



    I was wondering about a 5k Park Run on Saturday as well.



    Is that really wise? My alternative plan would be 6x1000m intervals on the Friday night. What have I got to lose?
  • DT19 wrote (see)

    what time are you thinking in the circumstance Lou?

    That is one of the big questions of the age.  I've been training based on a 3:10 target, but under the circumstances I decided to revise that down to 3:15.  I feel that might still be a bit ambitious, but it gives me the opportunity to run with a pacer, which might help.

    However, I was talking to my wife last night and she pointed out that she did Paris a few years ago with less training than I've done and managed approx 2xHM +15mins, which would result in under 3:15.

    I think I'll go with 3:15 though. I like round numbers.

  • from the sounds of it this Saturday could be PBtastic who would think after weeks of training for a marathon we are now deciding a fast parkrun is the way to go? we had to pull back to a 9 week plan in the end as injury affected our original training. I do foolishly have a second marathon booked 5 weeks after London as we are running London together I will run the Kent Roadrunner for a time. Im not sure how wise 2 marathons in just over 2 months is for a first time marathon runner.

  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Yep, everyone seems to want a round number finish time in a marathon!

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    Strange really. 26.2 isn't exactly round. 7:15/mi gives pretty much 3:10 though. 3:15 is something like 7:25/mi



    Makes my 8:40/mi or 8:50/mi positively pedestrian.
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Although most people aim for a round number they are actually hoping for a figure 1 second below.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Yes I want 3.09.59. I suppose you also have to pace a bit quicker as over that distance your going to cover more than 26.2.

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    I was just hoping to make that up by running the last mile at my 5k pace. That'll easily do it.
  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭
    lou Diamonds wrote (see)

    However, I was talking to my wife last night and she pointed out that she did Paris a few years ago with less training than I've done and managed approx 2xHM +15mins, which would result in under 3:15.

    Depends how much training she (and you) did for the half, surely?

  • I'm not that fussy (I say that now) as it'll be my first go. If I jog round and feel like I could do a few more miles then I'll be disappointed. If I blow up and have to walk 5 miles I'll be disappointed. I'm dissapointed that I've not managed to train properly, but going into the race I'll be happy with 3:15.xx, or 3:2x or whatever provided I feel like I've given it my best shot.  

    TimR - the guys at the front will be running something like 4:40/mi.  That's not far off my 400m pace image

    Lit - Of course it does.  It depends on how many toilet stops I'll need over 26 miles.

  • it just goes to show how its all relative Lou would be happy with a 3:15:00 - 3:20:00 ish marathon I would be over the moon. were aiming for sub 4 at London because i'm running with Amy. I'm looking for about 3:40:00 at Kent Roadrunner and depending how things go I may try and push for a 3:35:00.

  • 15West15West ✭✭✭

    There's so much conflicting stuff out there on the taper. Some say reduce quantity keep quality, some say the other way round. Some say do marathon specific workouts such as tempo runs with sections at marathon pace or at lactate threshold, others say do VO2 workouts. Some say eat fats, some say don't. Some say don't change diet to carb load just reduce training, others say increase carbs also. Some say when carb loading stuff oneself with carbs, some say just increase percentage of carbs relative to protein/fats. Some say complex carbs only, others say any carbs will do. Some say eat big meals, others say graze. Some say drink loads the morning of the marathon, others say don't.

    etc

    I could go on.

    Maybe I should just get on with my work.

  • 15west as if you could carry on with work when you have a taper to think about? I just going for a simple bring down long run mileage and do everything how I have during training my body has learnt to work with what I do on a normal week so just let it recover by shorter long runs and hopefully the rest will look after its self.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    15West wrote (see)

    There's so much conflicting stuff out there on the taper. Some say reduce quantity keep quality, some say the other way round. Some say do marathon specific workouts such as tempo runs with sections at marathon pace or at lactate threshold, others say do VO2 workouts. Some say eat fats, some say don't. Some say don't change diet to carb load just reduce training, others say increase carbs also. Some say when carb loading stuff oneself with carbs, some say just increase percentage of carbs relative to protein/fats. Some say complex carbs only, others say any carbs will do. Some say eat big meals, others say graze. Some say drink loads the morning of the marathon, others say don't.

     

    ...but that's just my opinion.  image

    Some qualifications:
    - I think a golden rule should be not to change anything tooo drastically, with respect to training or diet.  So the taper should be about keeping the same pattern of your training but reducing the volume.  If you do a tempo run at quicker than marathon pace on a Thursday, do so for the next couple of weeks but over fewer miles, etc.  This is personal preference to some extent; my worst feeling during taper is feeling sluggish, so I like to remind myself I'm capable of running quicker than marathon pace, without knackering myself out in the process.
    - Re: carb loading, there appears to be various ways to skin a cat but I know what works for me.  "Carb-bleeding" seems to have got more trendy again but I'm not too keen on changing things that much.  Certainly you don't want to be stuffing your face for the whole of the final week, because as your training volume falls off you're likely to just put on unnecessary weight.  It only takes a day or so to replenish your glycogen stores.  I just tend to graze on extra carb snacks between Friday lunchtime (usually after my last easy run) and Saturday morning.  A packet of Jaffa cakes, a Soreen malt loaf and an extra bowl of cereal did the trick last year, but I couldn't tell you how many extra carb calories that is.
    - Keep well hydrated in the couple of days leading up to the race but don't go to bed with a full bladder (you won't sleep properly) and don't drink for at least an hour before the race.  (From experience, I try to leave 1.5 hours.)

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