View Full Version : Taper Question

12-11-2005, 11:59 PM
I know in most training plans there is a week or two before the race when you are supposed to really cut back on the workload, to be well-rested for the event.

However, I have not really done many long run/walks in preparation ( due to injury, mostly, but also work and family obligations, - you know all the "other" things in life). Is there really life beyond the marathon? :confused3

I've been consistently training, but mostly in the 5-8 mile range. I have done a few 10's and a 13. I'm going for Goofy, so I know the full will be a struggle w/o having done the higher mileage. I will also be walking most of the races, due to the injury, but hope to sprinkle in some brief runs spots along the way, to stay ahead of the sweeper.

So, do I really need to taper? I won't be doing a lot 2-3 days before hand, but do you think I can still put in the 5-8 mile workouts up to a week before?
Without having done the high mileage runs, is there really anything for me to taper from (except mentally?).


12-13-2005, 03:00 PM
Taper works by depriving your body of running when it's been used to running huge amounts (thereby making you seriously ansty). Not sure what the best advice is if you haven't been doing the 18-20 milers for the full (although 8-10 is fine for a half) so probably the most useful thing I can do is post the hal higdon taper schedule (for a full marathon, obviously half would be less!) so you can see what's recommended..

Week One
Run One: 5 miles
Run Two: 8 miles
Run Three: 4 miles
Long run: 12 miles
Cross train

Week Two
Run One: 4 miles
Run Two: 6 miles
Run Three: 3 miles
Long run: 8 miles
Cross train

Week Three
Run One: 3 miles
Run Two: 4 miles
Run Three: 2 miles
Long run - 26 miles - ie race day!!!

12-13-2005, 03:10 PM
Interesting question, as I kind of find myself in the same boat....

I will be doing my 20 miler next week and then tapering from there. In your situation, how are you feeling right now after your 5-8 milers? Are they easy/hard/very hard? How do you feel the next day? How much will you be dropping down your pace during the races comparative to your training?

I think this will give you a better idea of what you need to be doing. I personally think that it is better to show up slightly undertrained than overtrained, so I might consider at least a two-week taper to get your body healthy. With you going Goofy and your injury, I would hate for you to get hurt just prior to the race with no time to recover.

Just my .02-
Solotraveler :earsboy:

12-13-2005, 05:32 PM
Thanks for the replies.

Solo - I feel pretty good after the 5-8 milers, but I have been mostly walking them. I'm tired, but not too sore. It all depends on the injury. I'm hoping my pace does not drop off from what I've been doing in training (at least for the half). For the full, I think it's just going to be luck and adrenaline (at least for the second half of that race).

I'm thinking if I walk most of the 1/2, then I can wog more on the full. Then if I start getting sore, I can just try to gut it out to get that medal.


Tiger Lily 03
12-14-2005, 09:52 AM
I would recommend a taper, but since you haven't put in the mega miles, perhaps as suggested maybe more like 2 weeks instead of the 3.

I'm thinking if you keep at what you have suggested for yourself and then go to the 2 weeks of taper, you might be in the best place you can for you. You certainly don't want to push yourself to injury, and your body needs to rest b4 the big event even if your mind will not cooperate.

If you're at the "back" I am sure we will be seeing each other!

12-14-2005, 12:14 PM
I'll keep my eye out for you. :)


12-17-2005, 09:19 PM

A good rule to follow is that you cannot help yourself in the last week before a race, but you certainly can harm yourself and hurt your effort on race day. Since you and I are doing the Goofy, this is doubly true.

I can personally vouch for this from long ago when I was young and fast. I did too much before a 20K, which made the last few miles of the race perfectly horrible.

Based on this knowledge and experience, the week before the race I back off significantly. I'll do about 10 miles 9 days before the WDW half marathon, and then pull back. The Monday before the half I'll run 5 miles, and the Wednesday before I'll do 4 at a very easy pace. We travel to Orlando on Thursday, and Friday is light touristing and rest. This will ensure I step into the corrals on Saturday morning with a full tank of energy. I hope to run the half in a nice but sane tempo, saving something for Sunday's full. In spite of your fear of being a bit light for the Goofy, I'd strongly recommend you rest up those last few days before the races. Do a bit, but not a lot, as you'll need every energy reserve you have for Saturday and Sunday.

See you in the corrals, on BOTH days. 3 weeks from now we'll have the half done, and hopefully be asleep before the full. I've never done anything like this, and the uncertainty is killing me.


Lisa loves Pooh
12-17-2005, 11:16 PM
Pretty much Tapers should begin now--or at least by Christmas--being that Christmas day would be the LAST feasible opportunity for your longest run. Novices--or injured--or otherwise...should really skip the long run if not done already. My personal opinion fed by my coaches and my interpretation of Marathoning for Mortals.

It is the SUM of all your training that will get you through race day(s). There is NOTHING you can do in the next 3 weeks....seriously...NOTHING...that will improve your performance race day. So if you haven't done a long long run yet--and you passed that point in your schedule...skip it. There is NOTHING you can do to improve your performance--but there are lots of things that you can do or that can happen that will impede your performance or make performing at all impossible.

I fell today at mile 7.4. Today was to be an 8 miler for me (actually--if following MFM and not my coach--it would have only been 6---see what happens when you do more than schedule? ;)). Didn't finish my distance--but I won't be going out next week to make up for it--I will just plod along as per my training schedule.

This is speaking from a novice point of view. Personally a 1 week taper is going to be too little--2 weeks is adequate--3 weeks is ideal. Mine technically started at with 4 weeks to go (that was my long long run day). Doing the race the weekend before the race (or any large portions there of)--isn't ever a very smart thing to do--read some of John Bingham's stuff--he can personally attest to how BAD that is.

12-17-2005, 11:45 PM
Thanks Craig and Lisa.

I'm making this my last week of any long (for me) training. It'll be easy not to overdue it next week cause of the holidays and the following week I leave on Wed. for the World.

I have to take my work vehicle in for scheduled repairs on Tues. & hopefully pick it up Wed. The shop is about 8 miles from my house, so I'm planning to do my LW to get the car back. That'll be my last big effort. After that, just some light x-training.

Craig - I agree about the uncertainty. Guess it's just the fear of the unknown, since this is my first 1/2 and full marathon.

Lisa - sorry about the fall. How'd your knee fare? No re-injury, I hope.


Lisa loves Pooh
12-22-2005, 08:33 PM
Knee is okay--I fell "with style and grace". When I realized my legs wouldn't allow me to catch myself (about 3 steps into the fall)--I let my legs go completely straight to let my upper body keep falling and missed the knee and landed on that leg (left leg)--but on the thigh and just below the hip bone. I didn't hit either knee which is good--but my walking partner was a bit freaked as were my coaches. The knee was achy from bridge work--but I really believe it was due to the bridge and any impact was completely avoided in the fall :).