Marathon Taper – Training, Running, Racing


There are numerous marathon training plans out there.  You can find one for first time marathoners, veteran marathoners, sub four hour marathon hopefuls and others wanting to qualify for Boston.  Depending on your goals, there surly is a marathon plan for you.

finish5shamrock2012(Running the race is a small part of your plan)

I’ve used several different ones to develop my “own” training plan.  Now saying that, I’m not a coach, I don’t play one on TV and I did not sleep at a Holiday Inn last night.  I tailor my marathon plan for my goals, races and future races.  I’m not saying it’s perfect but it works for me. Am I running at 100% of my ability, to be honest, most likely not, but am I having 100% fun and enjoyment with my racing Oh Yes!

I’ve been asked a number of times how I taper for a marathon, so I thought since I’m in taper mode for the Air Force Marathon, that I would share my taper plan with you.

I normally begin my taper three weeks out from race day…if it fits with my other planned races and goals.  For the Air Force Marathon (in Sept) I was coming off a down running month for June (35 miles), a solid July (163 miles) and back on target Aug (197 miles).

I know I said I start tapering at three weeks out but let us start at four weeks out.

dismal1(A great race starts three weeks out)

I normally run a planned high mileage week (50-60+ miles).  This week is about logging some big miles and about not introducing anything new, hard, and or too fast. I put in a 60 mile week with a solid long run consisting of a slow 15 miles over some very hilly, and rolling terrain. Although this was still a high mileage week for me, I consider it part of my taper as I did not beat up my body while logging the miles.

Officially a “TAPER WEEK”I cut my weekly mileage back to 40 miles.  Monday I was off, Tuesday I ran 6 miles, Wednesday 7 and 7 again on Thursday.  Saturday I ran my last long run at near marathon pace.  I added this last 20 miler simply to gain some confidence.  I ran around my housing area on very flat roads at 9:14 pace.

I will reduce my weekly mileage to no more than 30 miles. All my miles this week will be run at a very conservative pace. My plan is to run 7 on Monday, 7 on Tuesday and 6 on Wednesday.  I’ll take off Thursday and Friday then run a slow 10 miles on Saturday.

My goal here is rest and recovery.  Monday I’ll run 7, Tuesday 4 and 3 on Wednesday.  This will give me Thursday/Friday to be off my feet as much as I can.  I’ll have my big marathon meal Thursday night, then have a good breakfast and lunch on Friday.  Friday night I’ll have my traditional pizza for dinner in the hotel room.  After dinner Michele and I normally chill out watching TV until around 9 p.m. (or earlier) when I call it a night.

Marathon morning, I get up three hours prior to race start time.  This gives me time to “take care of business,” to chill out and relax.  I’ll have a breakfast of around 100+ carbs (normally a protein shake with waffles or pancakes, and maybe a pop tart) and Diet Dew.  On the way to the race I’ll have one last light snack around an hour out from race start. 30 minutes prior to the gun going off I’ll down a GU.  I hand carry a water bottle for all races 13.1 and longer with my sports drink I empty a GU into the bottle.  Then it’s a matter of waiting on the start.

niagarafalls1(My First Sub-Four at Niagara Falls)

This Taper Plan works for me….might not be the best but it has worked (and changed) over the last 12 marathons.

What do you do for your Taper Plan?

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