Not Tapering = Tempting Fate?

Today I ran 22.5 miles. In six days I will run a marathon.

What? Did someone say something about tapering…. funny, I think I’ve heard of that before…

Now, I know it looks like I took all the wise running information I’ve ever read, heard or seen and packed it away in one of my many running shoe boxes stacked in my closet, closed the lid and then threw it out the window. I DO understand that a 14-20 day taper is ideal. I DO comprehend that muscles need recovery time in order to be fresh. How many times have I read that? How many times have I heard that? The answer is: Clearly, not enough.

But before you go find my running report card and give me an F in Tapering, hear me out. Listen to how well I’ve rationalized the situation:

1.  I will be running the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon next Saturday (more on this later). While I’m very excited to be running it, I’ll be treating it as training rather than a goal race (my goal race will be CIM on December 7th).The plan is to give 90% instead of 110% on race day.

2. The Lithia Loop Marathon has a very very impressive elevation climb. And it’s a Trail marathon. I don’t expect to post a fabulous time. My goals are to have a lot of fun and not get injured.

3. I watched the NYC marathon online this morning before hitting the trails. I was so inspired and so happy, how could I not run 22 miles and pretend like there was a little bit of Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher in me?

4. Today’s 22-miler was awesome and I’ve been floating along on a sea of good post-running vibes all afternoon. Taper or no taper. I don’t regret a mile of my training.

5. My legs and I spoke breifly this morning about the situation and we’ve signed a Six-Day Taper Treaty. They’ll do their best and in return I will supply my legs (a.k.a The Sequoias) with ample sleep, good food, lots of contrast showers, and minimal stress between now and race day.

6. Did I mention I feel fantastic?

7. Because I have neglected to taper up to this point doesn’t mean I can’t taper. I’ll just do a mini-taper. Kind of like a miniskirt. Or a minivan. They aren’t for everyone, but both minivans and miniskirts have loyal fans – maybe I’ll try a mini-taper and see how it goes – but I promise not to do it for CIM.


About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
This entry was posted in marathon, portland, running and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Not Tapering = Tempting Fate?

  1. This Devil's Workday says:

    You seem to run really long distances when you’re merely training for marathons. By that, I mean you seem to run marathons to practice for marathons. Is that a regular thing amongst runners? I only ask because my mate does about one marathon a year, so he only runs about 10 km four times a week, and says that’s about as far as you’re meant to run.

  2. Erik says:

    Do what your body can handle. We all know what we think is best, but everyone is different.

    Sounds like you have a plan, stick to it!

    nice job!


  3. Ana-Maria says:

    Hi Heather,
    There is some new research that tapering 3 weeks for a marathon might be a bit too much, and that one week may be enough. So there you go, you are just following the new research trends:)Ana-maria

    P.S. Love your blog and your spirit!

  4. danica says:

    Great job on keeping through the upcoming marathon and training for the CIM! You will do great, and your attitude is perfect for your upcoming race. I did the same thing and ran back to back halfs and it worked out perfectly! 🙂 Good luck and I can’t wait to see the outcome!

  5. Nat says:

    Enjoy the marathon, I’m curious to see how it goes. 🙂

  6. heatherdaniel says:

    Devil’s Workday: As Erick mentioned everyone’s body is different. I tend to feel better with higher mileage and longer runs. That’s just me. Plus, I enjoy training just as much as running the race itself.

  7. John T. says:

    How can you expect to taper when you spend so much time running through my mind! (Was that bad enough to be good?)

  8. Dave C. says:

    I taper for 4 full weeks before every marathon I do. There is a noticeable difference for me between a 3 and 4 week taper. With all due respect, you can’t possibly recover from the muscle damage you incurred during training with only a week’s taper. There’s no way you’ll run as well as you would if you tapered 3 but better yet 4 weeks. It never ceases to amaze me that runners place so little value on rest and recovery! They somehow think that their muscles will “forget” how to run long. Check out what Owen Anderson has to say about this. He’s an exercise physiologist who formerly published “Running Research News.” If you google his name and “marathon mistakes,” you’ll see an article by him that includes failure to adequately taper before a marathon.

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