MarathonMaiden's Blog

November 18, 2010

So It’s Taper Time…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:03

…and because I’m a bit worried about the fact that I signed up for this race not too long ago, I figured I’d take a moment to write a post about my possible taper plan. I kind of mentioned it on Monday’s post but it was buried amongst other things.

I didn’t end up posting because my Wednesday was a bit blahhhhh and looked like this:

  • woke up 26 minutes before alarm with headache and sore throat
  • listened to pounding rain for 26 minutes

Obviously I dramatize but the rain was wicked heavy at first. Thanks google.

  • drug butt out of bed.  Decided to cut run short because icky feeling was more sick than “holy crap it’s 0500”
  • rain stopped so I tacked on extra
  • considered calling in sick to work
  • went to work and did NOTHING except the bare minimum. Except gossip of course.
  • since everyone was mentally checked out and I don’t think I checked in, I peaced out early
  • sat on my couch with a good book and tea.
  • obsessed over the taper

So here is this post because, while I could elaborate on each of the bullets above, I do not want to relive yesterday. Although I kind of just did.  Oops.

Anyway, so as of right now I’m ~2.5 weeks out from my marathon. Clearly the beginnings of tapering.  I’ll fully admit that I’m a marathoning newbie, having only run 2 and neither time suffering from taper madness.  The first marathon, while I did have lofty goals (want to BQ) I never really thought about the taper and my overall training wasn’t intense.  While training for #2, Boston, I was injured at the end of my cycle so my taper was elliptical with a couple of miles race week.

I have lofty goals again for WR.  After the past few weeks of training I think that, barring anything major, I can do well.  So I’m obsessing over what to do during my taper.  Is this the beginnings of taper madness?!

I’m toying with the following, and the workouts of the last two weeks worth of speed sessions have been by a friend who is actually a coach.  Not mine but I can bounce ideas off of him from time to time:

Week of November 15-21 (aka this week) ~80% of max miles.

  • On Tuesday I got a good tempo/GMP steady run in, with ~14 miles total and 6.6 of them at tempo/GMP.
  • Thursday: LR of 17-18 miles (today and check. 17.6 done-zo)
  • Saturday: Yasso 800s or 3 x (2@HMP, 1@MP+ 15 seconds) <– suggested by friend and the yassos are my idea.  And I’m not sure if, 2 weeks out, they’re the best in terms of race prep. See quote below from my friend.

Week of November 22-28. ~50-60% max mileage

  • Tuesday: 3 X (1.8 miles @ HMP with .2 mile recovery)
  • Thursday: LR of 13-15 miles
  • Saturday: 3 @ HMP, 1 easy, 1 @ MP, 3 @ HMP

Week of November 29-December 5 (RACE WEEK)

  • Monday/Tuesday: 2 @ MP, .5 easy, 2 @ HMP
  • Wednesday/Thursday: 1 @ MP, 1 @ HMP
  • Weekend: Travel and RACING 26.2 miles!

I spoke with a friend who really knows running stuff and he advised me

“At this point, my speed workouts are all aimed at dialing in on goal race pace, so I’ll incorporate portions at HMP or MP twice a week.”

Which I think is pretty sound advice and he also pretty much dictated the above schedule in terms of speed work.  It was in line with what I was thinking in terms of the *ideas* of the workouts and the types, but those are his workouts suggested as what he did before running Indy this year. The only change I think I’d make is to input one straight up tempo, or continuous GMP run instead of one speed session each week. Because tempo intervals (which essentially is what they all are) destroy my soul.

Thanks google images

So I guess I’m trying to feel out what you guys do during the taper and your experiences of workouts during it.  Obviously everyone is different but I like hearing things from “The Peanut Gallery” *CoughFloCough* I have the feeling that my friend is right and dialing into GMP is the thing to do now.  So I don’t know how/if my planned yassos for this weekend will shape up. They might be too intense of a workout so close to race day. [edit: I’m moreso trying to gauge the speedwork side rather than my overall miles for the next few weeks. The mileage cutbacks are pretty much set in stone but I’m just wondering how intense speedwork should be / use the track or go GMP?]

As far as today goes, I got my LR in.  I felt pretty crumby all day yesterday so I wasn’t sure how this workout was going to go.  Luckily I fell asleep relatively early last night and got 9 hours in.  Compare that to the 5 I slept all weekend and the 6 from Tuesday night and I’m no where near out of debt but feeling slightly better than yesterday. I still have some ear/sinus pressure that made the LR oh-so-much but it’s going away and not as intense as when I first got up. Better to feel a bit under the weather now than two weeks from now as two weeks + one day = MM on a plane to DALLAS.

The LR itself was…well a LR.  Nothing terribly special about it.  I didn’t feel particularly strong or powerful during it.  On the other hand I didn’t feel particularly weak or tired.  My legs did feel fatigued over the last 5 or 6 miles but, given the loop splits, I think I was increasing my effort and that’s why they were feeling it rather than true worn-out-ness.

13.5 miles @ 8:44
4.1 miles @ 8:24
Total: 17.6 miles @ 8:40

So I actually don’t have anything to complain about for once.  I did think this was going to be slower because of my head hurting and my legs feeling fatigued by the end.  Plus I was actually famished by the end of it, usually I’m a bit hungry after runs because I get out of bed and go within 5 minutes.  It was weird to be start feeling hungry during a run, especially so during a long run where my appetite is usually killed during the day.  That might have also contributed to the “I think this is slower” thinking.  But I’m happy that it wasn’t.

Money in the baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank. Lots of you suggested it as an alternative “hay in the barn”.  I’ve obviously heard the expression before but rarely use it.  I should start.  Even though every time I say it I think of the song that was stuck in my head the whole run today

Phew.  Lots going on in this post, no? But I also did my pushups and situps.  Today was W2D2:

Pushups: 14, 16, 12, 12, 18

Situps: 21, 24, 18, 18, 30


  1. GOOD LUCK IN DALLAS!! Just found you blog and will be following!

    Comment by Jess @ Blonde Ponytail — November 18, 2010 @ 12:39

  2. Great post, since I’m a newbie I can’t give much taper advice but your pictures literally had me laughing out loud… The running in the monsoon picture is sooo funny.

    Comment by jen — November 18, 2010 @ 12:49

  3. Still jealous of your trip to Dallas. I can imagine the weather will be shockingly warm…. sigh… I already have forgotten what that feels like!

    Comment by Amy @ Second City Randomness — November 18, 2010 @ 13:13

    • I actually think the weather is going to be not as warm as I think. Despite it being in TX it’s in the north. Hopefully it’ll be warmer than RI!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — November 20, 2010 @ 15:52

  4. I am super impressed with your push-ups and sit-ups. Really. I think my muscles have turned to mush. Send some strength training inspiration over here??

    Comment by Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) — November 18, 2010 @ 13:18

  5. LOL. You can do more push ups than me 😉

    Comment by Matt — November 18, 2010 @ 13:31

  6. I OBSESS over my training plans and taper way too much! It’s good to hear we are in the same boat! I think your taper looks really good. I am so excited for you and I can’t wait for the recap! Good job on your pushups… i can do five.

    Comment by janae — November 18, 2010 @ 14:22

  7. Tapering is making me FAT. That’s all I can say. I wanna run some more but schedule says NO. Grrrr….

    Comment by Julie @ Hotlegs Runner — November 18, 2010 @ 14:26

  8. It’s taper time! I can’t believe you have a 13-15 on your schedule next week. My max mileage (per the Runner’s World thingy) next week is 8. Is it sad that I feel burned out and WELCOME taper?

    I ran at White Rock Lake today… it was beautiful but ridiculously cold… it’ll probably feel like a heater to you, but I’m a weather wimp.

    Comment by Lesley @ — November 18, 2010 @ 14:58

    • Well I’m not really following a schedule so yeah, I’m letting myself do 13-15. It’s only 10 days out at the time I do it though. Can’t be bad, right?

      Comment by marathonmaiden — November 20, 2010 @ 15:54

  9. The one thing I didn’t mention when I listed the quality/speed workouts is that each includes a warm up and cool down. I figured that you would know that, but just in case–there’s no way in heck that I would want to go jump into anything at HMP/MP without a warm up. But then again, you’re not old like I am. 😉

    Comment by The Puerto Rican Kenyan — November 18, 2010 @ 14:59

    • I ALWAYS do warm up and warm down. I wouldn’t be able to jump into fast stuff immediately (although I am always chomping at the bit to do so) and I’m a mileage junkie so I take my miles where I can get ’em 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — November 20, 2010 @ 15:55

  10. You read my mind — that song has been stuck in my head since I commented yesterday.

    I’m kinda inexperienced with the whole marathon+taper thing, but I think your plan sounds good. I can’t believe it’s already taper time for you!!

    Comment by sweatykid — November 18, 2010 @ 15:49

    • I know, right? It feel like I just started training! Oh wait…

      Comment by marathonmaiden — November 20, 2010 @ 15:56

  11. Lol, I heard you call my name (or cough it, anyway). 😉 I am not real smart about taper on my own but believe whole-heartedly on checking out Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathon and Daniels’ books to see what they have. If you don’t have those (you gotta get them), then go to Running Times Online and check out the last 3 weeks of their marathon plans and see if yours looks on the same wavelength. No sense in reinventing the wheel.

    Your mileage cuts look good (Pfitz worthy 🙂 ). Of course, there is always the question of 2 or 3 week tapers, this is something that gets talked about a lot. If you’re feeling like you need it, definitely go 3, but if your legs aren’t feeling beat up (though considering your recent new speed intro, they might), consider 2, or 2.5 weeks.

    You’re going to have a GREAT race. This is one thing I know.

    Comment by Flo — November 18, 2010 @ 17:31

    • I was debating between 2 or 3 weeks of taper but A) the race is in 2 weeks at this point and B) I was only training since the beginning of November. I’ll definitely check out some established plans for what others call for in terms of speedwork for the last 2 weeks before race day. I sure as heck hope I have a great race day!

      You too tmrw! Good luck! 🙂

      Comment by marathonmaiden — November 20, 2010 @ 15:57

  12. Woot for the taper! I love your ‘drug butt out of bed’ line!
    Your mileage cutbacks look perfectly fine to me now go out there and rock it. really that much rain there huh? These parts are like the freaking sahara, not that I’m complaining.

    Comment by Teamarcia — November 18, 2010 @ 19:45

    • What makes the rain the worst is that we don’t get much of it, so when it does rain I’m like a big baby going out in it hahah!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — November 20, 2010 @ 15:58

  13. I have never run a race long enough to justify a taper, so I have no good advice for you 🙂 But I’m glad you made it through a sick day at work by doing the bare minimum. I really need a job where I can do that sometimes without serious consequences such as losing children or total chaos haha.

    Comment by Kelly — November 18, 2010 @ 20:21

  14. I…don’t…taper!!! Hahahahaha. Marathons. But really. I have up weeks and cutback weeks, but have never actually “tapered.” So I don’t know the relief/terror/whatever.

    Like Megan, I am impressed with the pushups. My abs are pretty strong, but my arms are allergic to pushups. Seriously! I feel like they break into hives from the effort.

    Comment by sarah — November 18, 2010 @ 20:53

    • I don’t really taper either. Which is why I’m freaking out over this one because I’m actually trying hah!

      Comment by marathonmaiden — November 20, 2010 @ 15:59

  15. Sista! don’t stress on your taper, you’ve got this! you plan looks excellent! and you are not a newbie (well I guess just compared to me) I’m not sure what makes you an oldie marathoner! 🙂 …basically your running with an infant! haha…I promise I wont cry!
    I hope your weekend is full of fun!

    Comment by lizzyj1305 — November 19, 2010 @ 01:07

  16. In my previous marathons I had always done a 3 week taper but for my marathon this fall I only did a 2 week taper and think I’m going to stick to that from now on. I think it helped not only mentally but physically. My last long run 1 week before the marathon was run at GMP and the week leading into the race I did one day of shorter speed work (bursts of 2-3 min tempo or slightly faster) follwed with a couple easy, short runs. Woo hoo for taper time!!

    Comment by Jenny — November 19, 2010 @ 07:14

    • I was thinking of incorporating a fartlek-esque speed run the week before race day. Glad to hear it worked for you.

      Comment by marathonmaiden — November 20, 2010 @ 16:00

  17. I would agree with your friend. You’re running a marathon so the most important thing to work on and “dial in” right now is goal marathon pace. You should get to the starting line and feel pretty confident in knowing what it feels like. The only way to do that is to run it. Obviously you’re scaling back the volume but you can keep the intensity up. If you get to Dallas feeling rested and comfortable with GMP, things will go really well for you, I’m sure

    Comment by Mark — November 19, 2010 @ 08:05

  18. umm. am i the only one that this is showing up all kinds of whacked up for? lol. i’m so distracted by the long box of text.

    Comment by lindsay — November 19, 2010 @ 08:57

  19. […] think I’m going to go with the taper plan I suggested yesterday. I think my message in asking for advice was a bit lost as many of you commented on the volume of […]

    Pingback by Friiiiiiiiiiiday « MarathonMaiden's Blog — November 19, 2010 @ 13:52

  20. Although I am no marathon expert, I would say give those 800s a try. Maybe don’t do 10 of them, and also do some miles at HMP and MP. Just see what feels good. You have trusted your body and listened to it so far, just continue to do that and you will be fine!

    Comment by J — November 19, 2010 @ 15:07

  21. Even though I am running only the half – I am ready to run the Rock! Good luck and stay healthy – fingers crossed the weather will be nice. This week it’s in the 70s until Thursday it drops to the 50s. Therefore given the Texas weather, it should be back to a little warmer weather race day. 🙂

    Comment by Steph — November 22, 2010 @ 17:50

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