2012 Renewal — Tapering for a distance event, Toledo here I come!

Mark Russell is one of the owners of Metro Run and Walk and is an avid walker and runner.

Mark Russell is one of the owners of Metro Run and Walk and is an avid walker and runner.

Tale of the Tape Through Week Fifteen

Weight:  January 1 = 189, April 14 = 174.0  15 weeks,  loss of 15.0 lbs.  At target 1 lb per week pace.

Mileage: Week 15 run/walk miles: 25.1.  Avg weekly mileage: 35.5.  Above target min of 35 mi/wk.

To perform your best, use a training mileage taper to arrive at the start line in optimum condition.

My spring goal race is Sunday — the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, Ohio.  I have worked hard, but now I am in taper mode!

In general, a ‘taper‘ means a purposeful reduction in mileage and intensity so that the legs fully incorporate the fitness of the past weeks of workouts, and are rested and ready to go on race day.  Tapering is a best practice for doing your best in all run/walk events, no matter the distance and intensity.  But not all tapers are the same…. and different people have a wide variety of taper approaches.  I put a premium on arriving at the start line with healthy and fresh legs, so I may be more aggressive with my tapers than some.

The length of your taper depends on the length of your goal event — think 1 day for each mile.

Be prepared to start throttling back your training about 1 day for every mile of your goal walk/run.  It is not an exact method, but it serves to challenge you to take care of yourself and not overtrain.  So, a 5K taper is less than 1 week.  A 10K is 1 week.  A half-marathon is 2 weeks.  A marathon is 3+ weeks.

Break the taper in half — the early taper and late taper.

The early half of your taper should

  • reduce overall weekly mileage by 1/3 to 1/2
  • speed or pace work should be used for tuning up current fitness, not extending fitness, so do less and stick with race pace

The late half of your taper should

  • reduce overall mileage to 1/3 of original level
  • speed or pace work is mostly eliminated, except for reminding your legs of target pace and staying limber

The 4 day count-down matters

  • 4 days out, go for a shortish run at a very easy pace, but mix in several 50 meter accelerations to race pace (these should feel great!)
  • 3 days out, run/walk 1-2 miles and do some light stretching
  • 2 days out, off day
  • 1 day out, go for a short very easy 1+ mile run to keep the legs limber.  This is a great time to visualize your success.
  • Race morning, warm up with a 1/2 mile easy jog, then mix in a few race pace accelerations.  Leave time to rest before the start, but not time enough time to cool down.  Your legs should feel like rockets.  Do not start too fast — stick to your race plan.

Next week will be a target race debrief, and some color commentary about my 2012 Renewal experience thusfar.

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One Response to 2012 Renewal — Tapering for a distance event, Toledo here I come!

  1. Ivette says:

    I’m a big fan of aggressive tapering!

    Good luck Mark. I’m sure you will do great.

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