I've been feeling a wee bit run down over the last few days. Maybe because I seem to have forgotten the concept of "taper". I think in previous years, the marathon has been the be all and end all. But now I need to think beyond next Sunday. I've been reading a bit on marathon taper and, as usual, there' s lot of conflicting advice. Last months' Runner's World (or the official FLM training guide!) provided some sound guidance.
Tapering - scaling back you miles to allow your muscles to repair and your body to rest - is the critical last phase of training before a race. But consider this: Trimming your mileage right back abruptly might not be the best move. In fact, maintaining a higher volume during the taper period can give you a better chance of peaking on race day. "The problem with a big cut in mileage is that your body gets used to being on vacation"...this can lead to feeling sluggish and sickly...So what's the key to successful taper? Some cutback in total mileage combined with a little quality work. It's best to reduce volume by eliminating miles from each of your weekly runs. Multiple studies suggest that some fast-paced running is critical to keeping your lungs and legs sharp.
So with this in mind, here's my plan for the next week.
Sat: Livingston Road Relays - I'm doing a 5K leg.
Sun: 10/11 m with Sharon. I'm hoping she has a hangover, so she doesn't put me in the ground.
Tues: Medium reps with Garscube
Wed: Easy four miles
Thurs: Steady seven - with fast finish
Sun: The big day!!!
I'm still a bit confused about what to do in the last week. Even when it comes to fuel. I understand the concept of carb-loading, but I don't like feeling like a big bloater. Sometimes I feel better and lighter running on empty. I plan on taking a few gels before the race and a few en route. Any advice on tapering would be most welcome. Tim?
Anyway back to today's run. Sonic was off to run the Stoneymollan hill race with the Milburn Harriers. I've opted out of trying my first hill race (there's got to be one sensible person in the house) so I went along to Garscube training. Another hilly killer course devised by him indoors (or outdoors). I might just be a coincidence that he wasn't there to enjoy it.
Just slightly over six miles. Rannoch, Boclair, Milngavie Rd, Mosshead, Ski centre, Drymen Rd. Finished in 49.28 (average pace 8.08). Splits were 8.45, 8.08, 8.33, 8.20 (uphill), 7.29, 7.28, 7.22 (downhill)
Sorry Debs, what I know about tapering could be written on a very small postage stamp. I just muck along, cutting my mileage & keeping up a bit of speed-work but in a very unscientific, unstructured way. I can't even decide how long to taper for.
Regarding carbo loading, I think the Kenyans use the "taper period" to actively lose weight working on the principle that starting a race a few pounds lighter pays bigger dividends. I'm not at all sure that stuffing yourself for days before the race does you any good. The day before probably yes but I think anything taken in excess of requirements in the days before that will probably only turn into unhelpful fat. Just my opinion of course.
Debbie, ask Marco for his "Lore of Running". Tapering is all over the book but check pages 320f. Basically if you reduce quantity but maintain quality you won't be in danger of hibernating...
Also loads of nutrition advise in the book.
P.S. How is your husband doing? I hope he has recovered well!
I'll have a look at the book. At least I'll give it another bash. Last time I attempted to read it, I nearly slipped into a coma.
Sonic is fine 'n' dandy. The crazy hamster was off doing a hill race last night though. Road relays tomorrow and then I'm hiding his trainers for a week.
Debs, I think your pre marathon week plan training looks ok, but could I suggest a couple of things? I think Thursday's run is too long and I don't think you should be doing a fast finish. In my view everything in the few days before the marathon should be very easy - you are really just wanting to keep your legs turning over. Also, I quite like going for a 2 or 3 mile easy run the day before the race - it stops your legs stiffening up. I'm not convinced by the carbo loading thing. It is risky - if you get it wrong you can feel too full, sluggish, and may have problems with your digestion. I'd be inclined to stick to the same eating you are used to - by all means have a big meal on the Saturday night, but I don't think there is any need to change things dramatically.
Hope this helps and good luck :)
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