Posts Tagged ‘marathon taper’

The Last Weekend Before Marathon

October 24, 2009 2 comments

I took Thursday off, ran an easy 3 on Friday, and today ran for a little over an hour at a medium pace, around 7:45-8 min/mile, total about 9+ miles.  It was very steamy, weather wise.  65 and 100% humidity.  I lost about 3 lbs in sweat on my run and I’m really hoping for cooler weather for the marathon.

Physically I’m doing well, all the aches are healing up.  I got a massage on Thursday.  It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a massage, almost 1 year.  After my hamstring pull in 07 I started getting weekly deep tissue massage.  But that soon became pricey so I found tools and methods to maintain my muscles at home.  The massage was great.  Full body, but not super deep tissue, medium, but good to flush the muscles and work out some kinks.  Lots of water after, and I felt great the next day.

The weather forecast is still ALL over the place its changes from 60 to 48 and back to 60 in 3 days on various sites.  I’m checking currently has 59 Hi, 46 Lo 30% chance of showers, accuweather has 57 Hi, 47 Lo, mostly sunny. only goes 7 day in advance.  I use zip code 10019 which is Midtown area, center of Manhattan, you could use any of the various nyc zips, I’m sure they are similar.  FYI Brooklyn at 6 miles is 11215 (my zip)

The run today was steamy!!  64 and humid, I was soaked at the end and realize hydration will be a crucial aspect if the temp is that warm.  But not only hydration buy electrolyte replacement, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride.

We will have to check on Wed/Thurs for a more accurate prediction, but, all you out-of-towners PLEASE BE AWARE, NY weather can change on a dime.  AND the weather is VERY OFTEN wrong.  Today actually said 80% chance of rain for 9AM and I actually saw some blue sky on my run, so I will emphasize, PACK AND BE READY FOR ALL CONDITIONS.  Rain, cold, warm, humid, sun, all of the above.  Fun right! 🙂  And equally important, visualize all scenarios in your mind and how you will do well in any circumstance.  Also be prepared to adjust your goal if the weather is less than ideal.

Here is a 1 week to go checklist from Bob Glover of Runners World


During Week 3 of your taper, things can get ugly. Two weeks ago you ran 20 miles in a single run, but now you won’t run this amount all week. And as your mileage plummets, your worries can skyrocket. But take comfort that thousands of other marathoners preparing to race this coming weekend are going through the exact same thing. And take refuge in your final mission: to ensure that your body is sufficiently fueled, hydrated, refreshed, and recovered for the task.

Training Checklist
1. Beginning on Monday, do no runs longer than 4 miles. And when you do head out, remember that these jaunts are more for your head than your body, because training has little effect this week.
2. Almost all running should be at 11/2 to 2 minutes per mile slower than marathon goal pace–except a Tuesday 2-miler at marathon goal pace, sandwiched by 1-mile jogs. Again, if you want, throw in some quick 100-meter strides after one or two of your workouts. This helps fight off the sluggish feeling that can occur during your taper.
3. Three days before the race, run just 2 to 3 miles easy.
4. Two days before the race, don’t run at all.
5. On the day before the race, jog 2 miles to take the edge off your pent-up energy so you’ll sleep better that night.

Mental Preparation
6. “Confidence should be the focus of the final week,” says Hays, “but you may still experience anxiety. If so, remind yourself that you’re physically prepared because you did the necessary training, and you’re mentally prepared because you did the necessary trouble-shooting and goal-setting.”
7. Try to minimize job, relationship, and travel stresses all week.
8. If you’re nervous about the race, try breathing exercises to relax. Breathe in and out as slowly and deeply as possible, letting your belly expand as you inhale. Focus your attention on the breathing and any positive, calming image.
9. If you’re too super-charged with energy to sleep, try this relaxation exercise. First tense, then relax your muscles, one at a time, starting with the muscles in your face and working down to your toes. Sex can also help relax your mind and body.

Nutritional Needs
10. “Emphasize carbohydrates more than usual in the last 3 days before the race,” says Tichenal. About 60 to 70 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrate sources. Pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals, and fruit are healthy choices, but even sodas and sweets do the job. It all turns into muscle glycogen.
11. Wash all those carbs down with fluids so your energy and water levels are high on race morning. Alcoholic beverages don’t count toward your fluid totals, however, and you’ll need to make up for their diuretic effect by drinking extra fluids. You know you’re adequately hydrated if your urine is clear or pale yellow in color.
12. Don’t restrict the salt in your diet. Low salt intake combined with excessive hydration can lead to hyponatremia, a rare but dangerous condition that can afflict marathoners. Drinking sports drinks and snacking on salted popcorn and pretzels will help keep your sodium levels up.
13. Don’t look at the scale. Because of your fully stocked fluid and fuel stores you’re likely to gain a couple pounds this week. But it’s worth the weight. Having your body’s energy reserves at full capacity will do more for your race than weighing a little less–and you’ll lose those pounds by the finish line anyway.

And Don’t Forget
14. Don’t do anything tiring. Let the grass grow. Let the kids take out the garbage. Let the dog walk himself.
15. Don’t try anything new. No new foods, drinks, or sports.
16. Don’t cross-train, hike, or bike.
17. Don’t get a sports massage unless it’s part of your routine. You may feel bruised a couple days afterward if you’re not accustomed to it.
18. Stay off your feet and catch up on movies, books, and sleep. If you go to the pre-race expo, don’t stay long.
19. Remember: During this final week, you can’t under-do. You can only overdo.

The Final Hours
Feeling calm, confident, and in control is your mission on race morning. Here’s how to come by the three Cs:

  1. Be sure your race outfit, shoes, timing chip, number, bag, and map to the start are set out the night before, so a treasure hunt isn’t required in the morning.
  2. Eat a light, easily-digestible meal, such as oatmeal or white toast and a banana, at least 2 hours before the start. Make sure you’ve eaten these foods before a few training runs with no adverse effects.
  3. Drink 8 to 16 ounces of sports drink 60 to 90 minutes before the race.
  4. Arrive at the start about an hour early, so you won’t have to rush.
  5. Joke around with friends or fellow runners before the race to lighten your mood.
  6. About 25 minutes before the start, do some walking, slow jogging, then a few 50-meter pickups at race pace. Visit the portajohn one last time. Mentally review your race plan.
  7. Position yourself appropriately at the start according to your projected pace, and remind yourself to start easy! You’ll be glad you did when late in the race you’re able to pass all those runners who started too fast.

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10/1/09 30 Days to go

October 1, 2009 2 comments

Taking day off today from running. I will hit the gym for a quick lift and some cardio. Hip/groin feels a little tight from yesterdays workout. Iced this morning. Rest will do me good. Tomorrow just a light jog with a 3 minute hard effort to deplete glycogen stores.

I purchased the NYC Bus Tour Tickets yesterday for my Dad, fiance and myself. I think it will be a cool experience to show them where I run. It takes 4 hours, so at least I can say I’m faster than the bus tour 🙂 It will also be a good focusing session to see and imagine the race at different points. I hope it is fun and relaxing. I’ll will take some pics and report on it after.

October is here. Seems like it took forever but so fast at the same time. The shape I am in now is the shape I am in. There is very little any workouts or long runs will change. They are mainly for confidence and to stay tuned up.

One thing I learned this year is that the marathon taper should be a cut in mileage but NOT intensity. Continue running your easy runs at the same speed, continue doing workouts, but decrease the length of both.

For example, Nate and I have been doing workouts like 6x5min tempo, 1 hr run easy, 6x5min tempo. Now we won’t drop the tempo out, but reduce it to 4x10min next week, then 3x10min tempo, then in the final week Tuesday 4x4min tempo. So we still feel sharp, but rested at the same time.

I think a lot of runners make the mistake of not tapering enough for fear that they will “lose their edge”, or “forget how to run”, or “wasted their training”. The truth is a proper 2-3 week taper is AS important as the previous 20 weeks. (more on this later)

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