Sunday, November 11, 2012

Not Tapering Yet.....

We are three weeks out from the California International Marathon. But I'm not in taper mode yet.

Yesterday I completed what I'm guessing will be my longest long run of the cycle, a three-hour beast with two 30-minute sections at tempo heart rate embedded in the middle. It was cold and windy, but I've run in worse. I finished the first two hours, including the first 30-minute tempo section, just as directed. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the second tempo 30, my gut decided to speak to me, and rather than see if I could get through it without stopping, I ducked into a handy outhouse and dealt with it.

Upon leaving the outhouse, I launched into tempo pace again as quickly as I could....only to develop a painful side stitch. Suddenly the mild headwind, which hadn't really bugged me before, seemed gale force, and I felt I was huffing and puffing. Once the stitch worked itself out, and I turned out of the wind, the pace came back. But I was already halfway through the allotted time and my heart rate hadn't once reached the level it was supposed to for that section (164-168 beats per minute). By the end, I finally got it up to 166. But I felt like I'd failed on that tempo section, and the paces were 20 to 30 seconds slower than the race pace I'm hoping for at CIM (8:30/mile). Overall, I give myself a B-minus for this run.

In the afternoon, the next week's workouts arrived from Darren. He made no comment on my long run, positive or negative. What I did notice is that this coming week will still be hard work. Saturday's long run is 2 hours and 15 minutes, all of it easy this time. But the day before is a 1-hour progression run, and I have a hard "sustained" session on Tuesday that represents no decrease in distance or intensity from the ones I've done for the last three weeks. As has been the case for weeks now, I'll run every day but Sunday.

I'm glad about this. The two-week taper worked much better for me for both the Top of Utah and Houston Marathons last year. And this cycle, which has featured less-than-optimum amounts of time to build up for 26.2, I feel I need all the real workouts I can get (without tiring myself out too much, of course).

How long do you like your marathon taper to be: two or three weeks? If you're running CIM (or another race coming up soon), do you feel like the hay is in the barn or that you still have work to do?

14 comments:

  1. in the past, I hated the taper, but in recent marathons, I've upped my mileage to peak in the 60-75 mile range, and now I seem to welcome it. I prefer a little taper in mileage, but to keep the intensity in the workouts. Good Luck with the next few wks and the RACE.

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  2. all my marathon clients do a 2-week taper, unless they are beginners or need extra time recovering from a long run. and for me personally, switching to a 2-week taper was the best thing i did mentally and physically.

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  3. I haven't followed a training plan since my marathon in 2011, so I'm no help there. I know when I did I looked forward to the taper and decreased workload, but my poor work ethic is well-documented. :)

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  4. I clearly have no opinion on marathon tapering, but I've always thought three weeks sounded really long. Clearly two is working for you, so I say go for it!

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  5. I think it's normal to have a B run at this stage in the game. (I know, I know, I don't have enough experience to say that, but that's how I feel!)

    Having not done a taper any other way, I can't really answer the other question. But, based on this past time, I think I'd prefer a two week taper, even if I do think the hay is in the barn.

    Keep working - you're almost to the taper! Can't wait to see how it all pays off!

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  6. We all need some B- runs to remind us how AWESOME those A's are :) I like the 2-week taper...but I haven't run a marathon in 15 years.

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  7. I prefer the six-month taper but it's not very effective for producing good marathon times.

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  8. raina_smalltownrunnerNovember 11, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    Marathoning is an art I have yet to master, but it sounds like you are doing all the right things. I would try not to dwell on the second 30 minute tempo portion. An hour of true tempo is a LOT. Was this at your MP heart rate, or at LT heart rate? Either way, you are putting a ton of hay in the barn! Your easy long run will feel simple after this one- even with the progression run.

    I think next time around I will plan to take a 10 day to two week taper, but it will probably be a short cycle with a lot of base building at easy pace.

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  9. You didn't fail--lots of issues affected that session! Sounds like a great tapering plan--keeping intensity in there, yet bringing the volume down a bit. I did my last 22 yesterday, but have a full track session planned tomorrow (10 Yassos). This coming weekend I'll drop down to a 16-miler, but do 8-10 at MP.

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  10. I am learning from following your training! I also am considering a 2-week taper for the next go-round. It worked for my half-ironman and I have felt really flat for the last couple of marathons when I did a 3 week taper. Getting so close!!

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  11. I was thinking of you and your 3 hour workout! I think you did much better than you think you did. Congrats on getting through it! And I love hearing your plans for each week, sounds like another intense weekend... can't wait to see how it all comes together for you in 3 weeks!

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  12. I usually do a two week taper. Any more than that, and I would go crazy. I am sorry that your last long run did not go as well as you wanted but that's okay; you are just saving the gas for where it really counts!

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  13. Jen @ runforanna.blogspot.comNovember 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I ran CIM last December. I can't wait to hear about your race! I've run 2 marathons, and they were both at CIM. You will love it! The crowd support is awesome. I got tired of the rolling hills, but other runners have said they barely noticed it, so that could be just me. As far as tapering goes, I'll let other more experienced runners answer that question, but 3 weeks seems like a long time to me. And, I'm convinced that you need at least one "bad" run in the weeks leading up to a big race. Gets the kinks out of the system. :)

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  14. I've always done a 3 week taper, except for the MCM cycle where I did I think a 10-week one with all the injury BS. Don't sell yourself short: that B- run went way better than you think. I know tons of people who swear by a two-week taper. You are doing so great!

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