Taper for Two

This week is the first in a two-week taper towards the Mississauga Marathon on May 15th. In the past I have always done a three-week taper with a pretty significant [excessive] drop in mileage and intensity. After the Toronto Marathon in October, I started questioning whether I may have tapered too much. I decided that I would try a two-week taper next time, without dropping my mileage nearly as much as I had in the past. Running a few very successful races (including a marathon) without tapering reaffirmed this decision.

Tapering means cutting back your training, so that your body can rebuild to peak strength. Tapering allows your muscles to repair the micro-damage of intervals, your energy systems to store up glycogen, your body to overcome the chronic dehydration of hard training, and that last bit of tendonitis in your knee or ankle or hip to finally go away. [Pete Pfitzinger]
I know the importance of resting up and recovering, but I have also learned that tapering excessively can lead to feeling “flat” and even out of shape by race day. I need my legs to remember how to work hard and run long. Finding that fine line between “too much” and “too little” is key.
This time I am following something very similar to Matt Fitzgerald‘s approach to taper:
Two weeks before race day I run 20 miles. Endurance is the facet of running fitness that always comes hardest to me, so I like to have a fairly recent 20-miler in my legs when I start a marathon.

I maintain the same basic weekly workout structure during the taper as I do during the peak training period, but all of the distances are reduced. I do two high-intensity workouts during the week and a long run on the weekend. This week’s key workouts will be roughly 30% shorter than in the preceding week. Next week they will be 50-75% shorter. It’s important not to completely eliminate high-intensity running from your training during the taper period, because tapering is not strictly about resting up for your marathon–it’s also about priming your body for peak performance.

I’ll post a more detailed account of my taper in my next two weekly training recaps.

Over the last couple of years that Hubs and I have been running marathons, we have never had the same goal race. This means, for the first time ever, we are both tapering at the same time. Things are sure to get interesting at our house over the next 10 days – hopefully there won’t be any fights over peanut butter or pasta. πŸ˜‰

At least we’ll be able to take turns being on weather-watch!

I know we’ll be able to offer one another the moral support we need to stay physically and mentally strong as race day draws near.

The best part will be eating junk food celebrating and recovering together after the big day.

Old pic (2008) but you get the idea!

31 thoughts on “Taper for Two

  1. ive also been stalking the weather network. lots can still change!good luck with tapering. hopefully no taper madness. just relax and enjoy and think about all the hard work you put into this training and u will rock Mississauga!

  2. Welcome to the two week taper, may you enjoy it fully, and may it treat you well! It's worked like a charm for me twice… now if I could only make it there to try it out a third time we'd really be in business…

  3. i've never had to face a taper with a spouse who is also tapering. could get interesting :)when i was following pfitz's plan it was very similar to what you're describing…more of a two week taper, except with the 20 miler an extra week out. i executed it perfectly for grand rapids and was primed and ready for the race. i've been in AWE of you this whole training cycle and i can't wait to celebrate with you after its all done!

  4. I followed that type of taper and I think it really worked for me. It kept my mental confidence up, but gave my legs much needed rest and recovery. I did a 18 miler two weeks out and then a 10 the week before. I shortened my weekly runs but still did one speed workout each week, just for a shorter distance. My legs felt fresh on race day. I ran 3 on Friday and nothing on Saturday, raced on Sunday! Getting ready to run again today because my legs have felt GREAT! (I've also made up for all the calories I burned and then some!)You're going to do GREAT! I am excited for you!TO SUCCEED YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN SOMETHING WITH SUCH A PASSION THAT IT BECOMES A REALITY….THIS IS YOUR REALITY!

  5. I'll be interested to see how your taper goes. I am writing my plan for St. George in October and I am struggling to get the taper correct. I am thinking about 20, then 16, then 10 then race…it has worked for me in the past. Hmmm…I'll be following along to see how you do.good luck!

  6. ooh, having a taper buddy must be fun. makes you feel less crazy. but it could get ugly, i suppose. you both will have a ton to celebrate very shortly! heck, i'm even going to get a bottle of champagne and celebrate out here for you!

  7. I was reading Katie A's taper info and it sounded like she just keeps the mileage up. It's interesting to see what different people do for the taper. Good luck!!

  8. Oh my…two people tapering at the same time. I hope that you both make it to the stop alive:)Good luck. I think that this is going to be your race.

  9. I agree with the two week taper. Sounds like it should really work for you.Try not to kill your hubby, ok? ;o) Just think of the fun you'll have after the race.

  10. Taper for two hmmmmm? Something you're leaving to be read "between the lines"??!? Hmmmmm? Is there wifi in the womb now? That would be helpful for checking weather forecasts.

  11. Fun fun! I can't wait to see how your two week taper goes! I think mine was sort of a two week taper too. Keeping up the intensity is key and I know you are going to do great!

  12. I'll be following with interest to see how this modified taper goes. I've only done one for a marathon and felt my body didn't react well to such a dramatic change in routine. You can be the crash test dummy/guinea pig.

  13. Definitely sounds like a plan that will work for you! That's cool that you'll finally get to taper with your hubby… just don't drive each other crazy the next two weeks. πŸ˜‰

  14. Heck, Ya!! you will definitely be celebrating!! I like this taper perspective and will have to look at it for my next marathon. so excited for you.

  15. So smart! The three week taper has always seemed too long to me, too. I did 21 miles 2 weeks out from the Denver RnR last Fall and had a great race – I felt confident, ready, and definitely well rested! πŸ™‚ ENJOY these next two weeks and keep up doing whatever it is you're doing, because clearly it works!

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