Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tapering on

A couple of weeks ago AG asked me about my "taper plan" for my upcoming race. Being a race newbie I didn't understand the phrase. I actually thought it had to do with taping my foot for support. She explained that runners often reduce, or taper, their running routine during the weeks leading up to a race. The object is to build an optimal balance between rest and conditioning.

With my race less than two weeks away I've been thinking about the best way to prepare myself for competition. Last weekend (counting Friday) I did longer runs for three consecutive days for a total distance just short of 12 miles. In deference to a slight but persistent leg injury, I have folded in a few elliptical sessions this week which provide less strain on certain affected muscles. I'm out of the office on Thursday and I'm hoping to do a long run in the morning plus longer runs over the weekend.

Next week is when the tapering will start. I'm going to be traveling on business for most of next week so I'll need to work my routine around that. Happily I'll be up at MIT and if weather and schedules cooperate I'll get to spend some quality time running near the Charles river. I'm traveling back on Saturday and I'm not planning to do any running that day. In fact I'm thinking of resting on Friday as well, perhaps only doing core stretching.

Will it make a great difference to rest a couple of days before the race? I'll let you know on the 19th.

4 comments:

  1. I can't wait to hear! I know you're going to run an awesome race!

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  2. Thanks! I'm hoping for the best :) When is your 10K?

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  3. I haven't given you very definitive advice on this topic, so I'm going to try to make up for that by sharing a snipped from a 2000 Runner's World article. Here goes:

    "Tapering isn't just for marathoners. In fact, one recent study showed a huge performance benefit when subjects tapered for a 5K.

    Here's how to taper for the 5k distance:

    Cut your normal mileage in half the week before your race, but maintain some intensity. Early in the week, run 4 x 400 meters at your 5K goal pace with a 200-meter jog between repeats. Later in the week, jog 2 miles, then run 6 or 8 x 100-meter strides at 90 percent of maximum speed. Run easy the other days."

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  4. Thanks AG. I'm planning to do some speed work, probably on Sunday. Maybe I'll go to the track which makes the 4 x 400 and 8 x 100 segments easier to measure.

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Comments are most welcome!

 

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