Thoughts on Tapering

  May 15, 2017  |  #Marathon Training

Hi friends! I hope you had a great weekend, and happy mother’s day to all you awesome moms (and puppy moms)!

I can’t believe it’s the week of my SECOND MARATHON. I am so excited to be in Utah, explore and run Ogden and live it up (#bucket list), but I’m also a little apprehensive of the race and elevation. But, it’s all for fun, right?!

You can read about how I’ve prioritized nutrition during marathon training, and a little more about the marathon here. If you’re in the Utah area or interested in going, you can use the code BLT2017 for $10 off your entry.

Thoughts on tapering

So, I’ve actually truly been tapering, aka taking it easy. And let me tell ya, by decreasing mileage and turning it down, my body has wanted more rest and relaxation. I know some runners get antsy with their taper, but that hasn’t happened to me yet…

Less running = more time for other things

Sunday dinners with friends. Most epic wedge salad? I think so!

So this is tapering

More QT with this guy and this girl.

So this is taperingSo this is tapering

More walking and some quick, efficient workouts.

According to Runner’s World, you want to decrease your mileage by 20-30% each week from your highest volume week when tapering. My last long run was supposed to be 20 miles 2 weeks ago, but if you remember, that wasn’t my greatest run. I ended up stopping at 18 miles. The following weekend, I did 16 miles no problem and felt great. And since then, I’ve consciously been decreasing all across the board.

I’ve appreciated these last few weeks of less mileage, except it has made my runs harder!

I haven’t been stressing about getting my workouts in, but I may have over-tapered last week. My 12 miler on Saturday was tough – sluggish and heavy, even with maintaining an 8:40 pace. I guess this is normal, if you take a few days off. Ed reminded me that this is normal too (He coached college cross country and has been running for like 20 years, so I trust him).

So, this week, I’ll plan to get 2-3 runs in before the race, with a little pickup/fartlek work with some speed bursts, to remind my body of my marathon pace and decrease any nerves or anxiety I may be feeling. I’m not really going to bother with cross training, and just save up the extra energy.

I have been focusing on…

More yoga, stretching and foam rolling

I got a massage last week which felt like pure bliss.

My favorite runner’s yoga video with stretches.

Thoughts on tapering

More walks with Tater

She doesn’t let you sit around much, anyway. She’s a true to form puppy, and loves to be active.

So this is tapering

Mostly complex carbohydrates

Hummus Mediterranean Pasta Salad, Summer BBQ, Pasta salad

You don’t want to carb load just the night before – use the weeks leading up to the marathon to teach your body to store extra carbohydrates as glycogen to have during the race. I have a nutrition plan with taking some gels and tailwind, but I will be having a large oatmeal breakfast (like I always do) the day off, and relying on my stored muscle carbohydrates (glycogen) that I’m currently building up.

So this is tapering

We know how important those carbohydrates are, right?

Also, when tapering, make sure to hydrate hydrate hydrate! You can’t make up for a poor hydration plan on race day, or even the days before. Prep your body now! I’m trying to drink more water and less of other things. For example, I’ve cut my alcohol intake down to maybe 1 drink a week. But, you bet the beer will be flowing once this marathon is over.

And lastly, sleep. I have trouble sleeping in, so I’m working on getting to bed earlier. It’s a great life habit to get into anyway.

Why Tapering Is Hard

Tapering can be difficult for runners because it involves less movement and more sitting still. But, it’s vital to take care of your body and allow it to fully recover and rest before you put it through the stress of a marathon.

Many runners fear the taper period for weight gain or losing fitness. Yet, you won’t lose your fitness in a matter of 2 weeks. Use the extra time to enjoy relaxation, sleeping in, and visualizing your mental plan for the run.

For the marathon, I’m putting together my play list, and coming up with my mantra that I’m going to recite to myself throughout the race, especially during the tough times.

I heard a quote the other day: “Underprepared and under-trained means you’re ready to rock it,” or something like that.

I’m planning the restaurants we’re going to eat at, where to explore in Park City and Salt Lake City, and focusing on the fun stuff. I have found that if you take the focus off of running (therefore, decrease your anxiety about the upcoming race), it’s much easier. There’s not much you can do differently to produce different results on marathon day!

I’m linking up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap!


Do you love or hate tapering?

What’s your number 1 tip for taper period?

What’s your mantra for getting through tough times?

37 responses to “Thoughts on Tapering

  1. I’m worried about the elevation at Utah Valley. It definitely bothered me in CO where we started at 7500 feet. I hope you enjoy your final week of taper. I’m better than I used to be at it. Your tips are spot on. Good luck and enjoy your trip! Thanks for linking, Sarah!

    1. I am too – I’m trying not to freak out too much since I can’t do anything about it now, but I’m definitely thinking about it! Thank you!!

  2. I’m all about the taper! Like you said, you will not lose any fitness over the course of a couple weeks…and you risk injury trying to do too much AND run the marathon. My favorite tip is to trust the training and not second guess anything while in taper (because your brain will already be looking for phantom “injuries” or sickness to make an appearance). Good luck!!!

  3. When I tapered for half marathons, I was ready for a break from the training but also worried about messing with the flow of things. Like would my legs feel like dead weight if I wasn’t running? In the end I usually felt really good on race day!

    1. I experienced a little bit of that this past weekend, which makes me think I may have over tapered last week. Hoping to feel good on Saturday!

  4. Im so excited for you, both for your race and your trip! Rob is running the Cleveland marathon on Sunday so he is in taper mode. He is not a typical runner because he LOVES tapering and doing nothing.

  5. My number one tip for tapering or in taking an off season is to start a really good book or TV show and get obsessively into it. Currently reading the Outlander series and it’s got me hooked!

  6. I’m excited for your 2nd marathon; I’m learning good things from you about tapering and truly learning to rest and carb load the proper way. I used to just carb-load the night before; I think that wasn’t the best idea for my first marathon. I did learn that the taper really helped my body feel refreshed and ready to go on marathon morning; it’s amazing how your body stores up that energy to use on race day.

  7. I can see how this would be something that needs to be strategic…. a lot more thought and planning goes in to being a marathon runner than us non-runners may believe!! I do know, however, that taking time away from a normal exercise routine just means more time for all those special things you don’t usually have time for. Ie: friends, family, rest, books etc. Especially in the summer!! It’s also funny how we think taking a week or two off will change our weight or bodies significantly. …Silly.

    1. It’s amazing what a re-distribution of time can do. It makes me want to keep track of what else I’m spending a lot of time towards in my day and possibly re-evaluate.

  8. You’ve got a smart tapering plan! I felt good during my marathon taper in the fall, but then started to just have the jitters in the days leading up to the race! Foam rolling and drinking lots of water is so important! And your Sunday dinner looks AMAZING!!

  9. I used to absolutely hate taper because of exactly what you said – losing fitness/weight gain. I still tend to get antsy doing less, but I have big goals next weekend (Martha’s vineyard marathon!) so I’m really working at it this week. I’m taking the T instead of walking to/from work, cutting down to 2 runs this week, and just really trying to prioritize sleep/hydration. Tapering is almost harder than marathon training, but I really do believe that’s the most effective part of training. During swimming, I’d see massive improvements after 3 weeks of almost zero physical activity. I’d rather be undertrained than overtrained.

    Can’t wait to see you CRUSH Ogden!

    1. It really is a difficult balance that can be hard to adjust to – especially since we’re used to putting it all out there and working harder and longer. I’m actually enjoying the rest, and like you, trying to stay off of my feet when not exercising. Good luck at Martha’s Vineyard! I bet it will be beautiful and I’m sure you will rock it!

  10. I’m not a runner so I can’t really relate here, but it does sound like you have a really good plan! Good luck girl – seems like you’ve done all you can to prepare well!

  11. you ARE going to rock it đŸ™‚ and enjoy that beer afterwards!

    I don’t mind tapering but I do stay “gently” active too. Just no heavy duty running / long distances.

    my tip? if you don’t want to eat all those carbs the week/ days leading up to the race, you can find carb loader drinks that aren’t too horribly sweet. we carb load the week before but about three days before it’s a couple of carbloaders so that we aren’t too “full”. Also day of, in the morning 500ml + breakfast (I’m an oatmeal girl as well!). Everything you’ve said is actually spot on as far as what I know of fueling.

    hope you have a great time! I’m about to put some plans in place for my Half/ husbands Full Marathon in less than 2 weeks. It gives us something to look forward to and yes, definitely eases the nerves a bit by thinking of something else.

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