I have been reviewing several articles and books regarding the taper. On the surface it seems so simple. Just cut your mileage back by 20 – 40 percent each of the last three weeks before your marathon. But don’t let your intensity drop. Oh yeah, your also going to need to replenish your glycogen stores with carbohydrates while simultaneously cutting back calories so you don’t pack on unwanted weight. Along with the reduced volume your mental state takes a hit and some self-doubt creeps in – you think about being over ambitious and holding fantasy paces. Now add in the phantom arches and pains along with the bloated tired feelings. Then your legs start to feel restless (that’s the jimmy legs).
And there you have it, Bob’s your uncle.
This taper stuff is simple.
While all of the above is certainly true it’s not always that bad. For me, for this marathon, getting a slight injury might be the saving grace. I felt that discomfort on my last 20 mile long run three weeks ago. The next day I was hurt. I stopped all of the running. I took it easy. I only added back some easy miles after I was sure that I was okay. It was a forced taper.
It was not until the next week that I added back any intensity. Since then all of my runs have been at M pace (marathon pace – 6:50). There is no reason for me to run faster than M pace right now and with the reduced mileage there is no reason to run any slower (except for warm up and cool down). I am not completely happy with the peaking and taper process that I have gone through. I am hoping for the slight bump in performance. I also tend to race well. If everything comes together I will achieve my goals.