Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's Taper Time

Running is not easy. In fact, it can be pretty darn hard, depending on what you want it to be. But arguably, at least for me, it's generally much harder not to run. Not just because my shoelaces are pretty and blue and I have a tutu to match them. I have urges to get out there and I'm not a fan of self-control when it comes to this sort of thing.

Nevertheless, I'm cutting back. I'm not injured, the weather is perfect and I want to run. All the time. Perhaps more so than when I have no reason not to. That's the lure of the forbidden miles fruit. But given it's T-9 days to my next marathon, I am embracing taper time: the calm before the storm, if you will, a chance for the body to recover from training and get it together for race day.

Yeah, right.
I'm obviously still running some, just much less. There is not much science to the madness in my world and I'm always experimenting with a new taper schedule. In fact, I have tapered somewhat differently for all of my 10 previous marathons. Some involved no cutting back, while one involved a month-long taper and I still showed up with an un-healed broken toe on race day (not pretty but hey, I finished).

Learning from past mistakes and incorporating what has worked, I started cutting back 2 weeks before marathon day, i.e. this past weekend. I ran 10 miles (race pace) on Saturday and did cross training both days of the weekend - core (I love my Bosu ball), elliptical (with the right resistance, it's legit!), spin bike and a fair bit of retail therapy. Oh, and a pretty mellow 5-mile hike which was really fun.

This week, I am running every other day. Less miles, but with a little kick so I get some energy out of my system. I am still sticking to my negative splits - or more accurately, running each mile a little faster than the previous one, so I end up with the first mile as the slowest and the last as the fastest. I adopted this a few months back and absolutely love training this way. It leaves you feeling energetic towards the end of the run, feeling fabulous and yet pretty accomplished.
Overall, I will end up with 25 miles for this week. Not counting the miles I've walked around Memorial Day Clearance Sales.

Race day week (next week, yay!) will be super mellow and yet full of excitement. I've been looking forward to this marathon for a long, long time. (My registration was actually a Christmas gift. I have such thoughtful family members.) I will spend more time walking, doing yoga and perhaps on the elliptical....with 5 miles Tuesday, 3 miles Thursday and a shakeout 1-2 miles on Saturday.

And when it's all said and done, you will probably find me in this section of Whole Foods in Venice:


  1. Tried your negative splits today... was so surprised to like it given my "leisurely stroll" attitude to running nowadays! Thanks for the tip! :)Good luck with your taper!

  2. taper timeeee! can't wait to hear how ojai goes for you! e and i have SD on sunday too! ;-) xoxoo