Doing The Marathon Taper Wrong
I have to say that I’ve never understood people who hate to taper. I’ve always loved it. Probably because—until recently—I always did it SO wrong. Up until about a year ago, I pretty much just stopped running during the marathon taper phase. When I go back and look at my training, it’s clear that my marathon taper strategy wasn’t actually a strategy, it was more an excuse to take it really easy.
I’ve been training with the Hanson’s Marathon Method (you can read more about my training over at eatprayrundc.com) and here is what the Hanson’s Method says about taper:
“The mistake many runners make with their taper is that they cut everything from training, including mileage, workouts, intensity and easy days…When runners subtract too much training too quickly, they often feel sluggish and even more fatigued than they did when they were in their peak training days. By cutting the training back in a gradual manner, you’ll feel fresh and ready to race.”
Why The 10-Day Taper
This is exactly what I used to do and it never really worked out for me. However, for this marathon training cycle (and for my last half marathon cycle), I am doing a 10-day marathon taper. It takes about 10 days to reap the benefits of a hard workout physiologically and so this means that I should be feeling great on race day.
So, for my taper, I’m avoiding the taper madness by not completely changing everything. While still running 6 days a week, I’m just running shorter and easier—no workouts. I’m also spending some of the extra time I have from not running with as much rest as possible. I’m also sleeping in a bit later and taking naps as much as I can and trying to just basically “do no harm.” Since I’m still running the same number of days I’ve been running all through training, I’m not experiencing any taper madness. The truth—I’m actually REALLY enjoying this taper and focused on just getting race ready!
How do you handle the taper? Tweet @WomensRunning and @eatprayrunDC with your thoughts!