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Tapering sucks!
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Tapering sucks! on 05/21/2009 21:45:38 MDT Print View

I've been steadily logging anywhere from 35-45 miles per week for over two months with marathon distance runs about every other weekend....
....and now, in preparation for the Los Angeles Marathon this Memorial Day, I've been laying off for the last two and a half weeks. I think I've tapered more than necessary and feel like a slug. I've barely logged 4 miles this week.

Make it stop! I feel like crap! I want my endorphins!

Thoughts on tapering from other runners?

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
tapering techniques on 05/21/2009 22:00:03 MDT Print View

While I'm not a road runner, I used to trail race, ran track and cross country in high school, and I currently race road bikes. My understanding of tapering is that the ideal duration of the taper is unique to each individual. If I taper for more than 10 days it becomes detrimental to my performance. I've done 2 types of taper--the 1st is my preferred method:

1st: Cut all workouts by 50-70% for 7-10 days, but still through in at least one short high intensity effort per workout.

2nd: Only cut the long duration workouts in half, keep all other workouts the same.

I would think that only running 4 miles by Thursday might be doing too little. Feeling like a slug is the opposite of what tapering should do--it should make you feel like you are pulsating with energy. Just my 2 cents.

Edited by iwillchopyou@hotmail.com on 05/21/2009 22:01:29 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: tapering techniques on 05/21/2009 22:12:42 MDT Print View

Yup. That's he problem- I've essentially cut all workouts by 70% for 14 days. Too much taper; I think slowing down begets more slowing down...next thing I know, I'm not working enough.
I ran about 4 miles tonight and feel better than I have in days (I'm also wondering if I'm getting a low-grade cold right now).

This is the first time I've tried to taper as this is the first road race I've run...usually I just go with the flow and see how I'm feeling. If Saturday doesn't feel right, I'll run long on Sunday, etc. All running is solo on trail.

I think the 2nd option you mention would've been best, I'll try it in the future- thanks.

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
tapering on 05/21/2009 22:21:08 MDT Print View

Best of luck to you. the first option I posted is more for cycling, where the second is more for long distance running.

Gregory Keller
(gregkeller) - F
purpose of a taper on 05/25/2009 09:10:16 MDT Print View

purpose of a taper is to recover from the high intensity workout, but not lose any of that fitness.

Key to tapering is dropping volume substantially. A two week taper is not too long, as long as you've been doing some killer workouts for a while and have a lot of recovery to do. The problem with most taper programs is that you drop your intensity. This is what gives you that sluggish feeling

When tapering for my "A" priority bike races i might go from 15 hours a week of training down to about 7, so a 50ish% reduction in volume but my intensity doesn't change much. I'm going out, hitting the intervals hard, and coming home. A workout is basically all on or all off.

I'd have a two week taper, so doing shortened volume, but keeping the intensity going. Then maybe 3 days before the event i'd take a day off, then the two days prior are just to "tighten the springs" introduce some tension back into the muscles, but not enough to cause any fatigue.

If your feeling sluggish, then try introducing some intensity back into the workouts, don't increase volume, but a couple of race pace intervals, or for a marathon, maybe 5K or 10K pace for a few minutes (2-3). then plenty of recovery between each interval, and do a few more. So maybe you have a grand total of 8-10 minutes at 10 K pace, so it's not that much fatigue you are introducing, but you're keeping your system used to doing the hard work.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
agree with keeping some intensity on 05/25/2009 13:43:49 MDT Print View

when i was running, i always did best in marathons and other big races with a taper, but taper never meant stop running - i still ran as many days, just gradually reduced total volume

speed days i still did intervals or tempo runs, just fewer repetitions or shorter distances

i think for my best marathon, i peaked at about 60 mile weeks (averaging around 50 for the 18 or so weeks prior to taper), running one interval and one either tempo or marathon pace run per week: probably ran about 20 or so miles the week leading up to the marathon, including a light speed workout (something like 2-3x800m or 4-5x400m) and a short marathon pace run (~4-6 miles) during the final week