TBR DM, Bull Circle 5: The Art of Tapering

Posted: February 10, 2012 in Articles, Events

Here’s something for those who weren’t able to attend the talk last Wednesday night. It will also be useful for anyone who wants to get an idea on how to taper properly. Got this from the notes of batchmate Michael Arcilla (thanks, batch!). I’ve added my own commentary for clarity. 😉

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Tapering is all about letting the body recharge after months of hard training to be in peak shape on race day. The last 3 weeks prior to the marathon is tricky because you wouldn’t want to over-train and get injured or burn out, but at the same time, you don’t want to slack off too much and risk decreasing your fitness level. Coach Lit Onrubia provided these guidelines for us to follow:

3 WEEKS TO GO:

3 runs a week but 25-50% LESS mileage (on long runs)
Ie. 8-10k on weekdays, 15K on weekends

(Those joining the Run United 21K got an earful from Coach. If they were really intent on doing it, he advised them to run 15K and walk the rest. Walking for 6K is not easy. Try it.)

Decrease mileage but not intensity

VISIONING: “my first 90 mins.”

TREAT THIS EXACTLY LIKE THE FIRST 90 MINUTES OF YOUR MARATHON. IT’S A REHEARSAL.

Pacing, Nutrition and Hydration should be as you would do it during the actual marathon.

2 WEEKS TO GO:

3 runs a week but 40-70% LESS mileage (on long runs)
8-10K on weekdays, 10k on weekends

Marathon Pace on all maintenance runs, 30-60 seconds slower on weekend long runs.

1 WEEK TO GO:

2 runs… only TWO RUNS. No weekend runs.
4-8K per run, nothing more than that
30-60 seconds slower than marathon pace, with some quick strides.
Focus on SLEEP.
Be wary of mind games: trust your training; you’ll “graduate” in a few days’ time.

(It’s tempting to run more than what’s recommended because that’s what the body is used to, but Coach Lit says it won’t make you faster at this late stage and could actually hurt you on race day. He shared that when he gets restless, he’d lock himself up inside a movie theater just to take his mind off of running. Find a distraction. Relax.)

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Nothing tiring, keep off your feet
Nothing new
No diets, no feasts
Don’t look at the scale
Remember: “You can’t under-do. You can only over-do.”

NO CROSS TRAINING. NO BIKING.

(Absolutely nothing new on race day. Race shirt/shorts/shoes/undies should be what you’ve been accustomed to wearing during training. Food, drinks, gels, etc must be familiar to your tummy and taken at practiced intervals. Don’t tape on race day if you haven’t done so previously – Jim Lafferty will be fuming. Every detail must be carefully rehearsed during the prior months.)

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