I sit here before you a lady in waiting. What am I waiting for? The 2016 BOSTON MARATHON, of course!!!!
After having given my absolute all during the past two weeks of training I am now officially tapering for the Boston Marathon!!! Wahoo!! I have spent the past two weeks running through cold damp weather and into relentless winds as I have attempted track workouts (even over 20 mph today! WTH Boston!!) all while ramping up my miles. Over the past two weeks this body has worked very hard and honestly- I’m incredibly happy to taper! 🙂
During taper most athletes will significantly reduce their run volume to give their muscles time to rest and recovery in preparation for race day. The athlete may still incorporate some tempo runs and workouts at goal marathon pace to “stay sharp” and get a true feel for their goal pace. Athletes who want a solid race day performance should focus on executing proper nutrition, rest and recovery during this time.
How long should taper be? This completely depends on your run history and proclivity to get injury prone.
- Are you new to the marathon distance? Are you feigning off an overuse injury (like myself with my hamstring)- patella tendonitits? IT band syndrome? Plantar fascia pain?
- –>IF so I’d suggest a three week taper to give the body extra time to rest/repair.
- Are you an experienced marathoner with Adamantium-laced bones? (Or the less ideal option: Are you “behind” a week in training and want to get enough volume in pre-race? Consider a two-week taper. Your body will definitely rest and recover, but won’t get that “extra” time it may want/need.
A two to three week taper is COMPLETELY dependent upon the athlete. You are not better or worse for choosing one path over the other; you are simply trying to choose the path that will yield best results for your body come race day.
Before taper (oh beautiful, wonderful, magnificent taper) comes two very important OVERLOAD WEEKS!! Overload is a two week period of the maximum volume that the athlete will reach during training. During these two weeks the athlete may encounter rigorous speed workouts, doubles (morning and evening runs) and their longest runs of their training cycle.
I wanted to give you a closer look at the workouts I completed during my overload weeks. Since this is my fourth marathon training cycle and I have been training for Boston since December 1st I wanted my mileage to hit into the 70’s. I have GRADUALLY increased my weekly volume from 30 miles/week in December up to 70 miles in March. I would not recommend this high volume approach for every athlete, not would I be able to handle other athletes’ training volumes of 80-100 miles a week with intensity. My body seems to break down around 70-75 miles a week; it’s my personal sweet spot for training when taking into consideration the other stressors in my life (work, parenting etc.).
To be clear: There are MANY different training plans that can get you to a successful marathon!! I do not consider my plan is “right” and another marathoners’ approach wrong. Not at all! The Run Formula’s plan and approach using HR training with gradually increasing your run volume works for me and my body. This is why I am sharing. Plussss it’s fun to talk running, duh. :).
Overload Week 1: 3.14- 3.20
- Monday- Two days after the Black Cat 10 miler I ran an easy 4 @ 9 min/mi
- Tues- 9 miles @ zone 1/conversational pace in 8:05’s
- Wed- 10 miles @ zone 1 in 7:50’s.
- Thurs- 24 MILES split across 2 runs
- About once every 4-5 weeks I do a split run to cover more training miles at a higher quality. Due to child care I had to do this on a Thursday!
- AM run: 12 miles with a descending pace in 7:37 splits; PM run: 12 miles @ zone 1/conversational pace in 8:05 splits
- Fri- 4.5 recovery miles
- Sat- FRIED LEGGIES! 2×20 tempo OUCHFEST!! 12 miles with 20 min tempo intervals at 6:51 and then 7:19, not pretty my friends, not pretty
- Sun- 3.2 recovery miles
Week 2 Overload: 3.21 to 3.28
- Mon- 4 recovery miles IN THE RAIN.
- AM run: 2×20 min tempo: 10 miles with 20 min intervals @ 7:21 and 7:02 pace into 20 MPH winds. BOO.
- PM run: 4 recovery miles
- Weds- 4.5 recovery miles
- AM Track workout: 30 min easy w/u THEN 5x 1 mile repeats into the WIND w/ 3 min full recovery: miles @ 6:49, 6:40, 6:38, 6:43, 6:41
- PM run: 3.7 recovery miles
- Fri- 4 recovery miles
- Sat- 10 miles @ zone 1/conversational pace (8:03 splits) .
- Sun- 20 mile long run @ 7:55 splits (yay! no wind!!) #winning
The added volume on my legs (plus this stupid hamstring issue I’ve been dealing with) made it INCREDIBLY difficult to maintain my goal splits during tempo and track workouts. I’ll be honest- I know I can run faster than a 6:38 mile repeat time. So why couldn’t I throw down on the track? Cause these chicken wings are SOOOOO FRIED they are beggin’ to be dipped into the most delicious honey mesquite BBQ sauce…. mmmm chicken wings. Wait? Where were we? … Riiiight. Tired legs. I have been running on seriously tired legs and I know that will pay off big time come race day – both mentally and physically. I know that I can hang in there when the going gets tough from mile 22-26. Bottom line is that I KNOW THAT I CAN.
I CAN. I WILL. I AM.
Never Stop Running,