Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tapering Off

As much as I wish the title of this post was reflective of the wedding planning, alas, that is not the case. Wedding planning is still going strong (too strong.  I want to quit my gmail account, walk away from the computer and never plan another thing. EVER. But I digress...)

So close I can taste it!

What is tapering off, however, is my running schedule.  Now that the Boston Marathon is less than two weeks away (eek!) my mileage has severely decreased.  And, my friends, it. is. glorious! As much as I love to run and have enjoyed the training process for the marathon, it's so nice not to have to go spend between one and three hours working out every day.

Tapering, for those of you who are interested, is a training technique widely approved by most track and field coaches that encourages the athlete to significantly reduce his or her work effort, mileage and training time for about one to three weeks before the race, depending on the distance.  For a shorter race, such as a 5k or 10k, a week to 10 days is usually standard tapering while for a full or half-marathon, the taper can be more like two or three weeks.

I personally always have a little bit of mental trouble with tapering, because it feels counterintuitive.  How is running/working out less going to help me run more on race day? I'm used to pushing myself at a certain level and have to force myself to back down and hold back a bit, which is frustrating.  I always get nervous that I'm tapering too much and will find myself weak and out of shape for the race.  And then race day comes and the adrenaline kicks in and thus far, my tapering has been successful. I was able to far exceed my time expectations for both of the two marathons that I've run.

Tapering does work, although it's often a difficult concept to fully come to terms with.  However, at this point, I'm not complaining because with all the wedding craziness going on in  my life, it's a bit of a relief to cut down my hours of running.

Have you heard of tapering before? Anyone else use this technique before a race?

1 comment:

  1. My college roommate was on the swim team (erm, an ex from college was too)and swimmers do the same thing called "shave & taper". It's basically the same thing only as the title insists, they let hair grow beforehand to create drag and then shave everything (arms, legs, guys have their heads) before the big race. Good luck!