The moment we've all been dreading is finally here, it's taper time.
Taper: The worst part of any marathon training plan. Starting 3 weeks before race day a marathon runner reduces their weekly mileage every week by 20-30% and runs easy.
Not absurd, it's science. Studies have actually shown that tapering improves marathon performance.
I know, it sounds crazy. I am just beginning week 2 of my 3 week taper. My immediate reaction to the taper was hold on, you are telling me to train LESS? But I don't want to fall out of shape! I don't want to gain weight! I won't be ready! I have to run 26.2 miles! Do you know how far that is?! I can't stop now! I've come to far! That makes no sense!
But alas, it does make sense. You see the months of hard workouts and heavy mileage leave your muscle's fatigued. It's essential you give your body time to repair tissue damage and restore glycogen stores. Think about it this way, you wouldn't fill your gas tank half way before taking off for a road trip would you? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. Tapering gives your body a chance to return to normal before surprise attacking it with your blissful 26.2 mile run.
If tapering were a competition, I would come in last place. I have a really hard time taking it easy. All the sudden I have all this time! Time that would be better spent preparing for my marathon and working out! I'll look at my plan and think why go for an easy 5 mile run when I can instead go to a 60 minute spin class! LOOPHOLE!
My favorite thing to do right now is spin at Flywheel. Flywheel isn't your average spinning class, oh no, instead of doing long endurance rides with hills and some intervals, you spend the entire 60 minute class doing high intensity intervals. It kicks your ass. I love it because it's an incredible leg workout and it helps increase my anaerobic threshold. Want to know what I can't do during a taper? Flywheel. You can continue high intensity cross training during the first week but should stop before the second and third weeks.
OK, so no high intensity training during the two weeks before a marathon...what about strength training? What about squats?
No more strength training. No more squats. You have to honor the taper. Strength training can happen during the first week of the taper, moderately, but should be discontinued before the second and third week. LESS IS MORE! You have to get more rest, eat more food, and go easy on the exertion levels. Light running and light stretching ONLY! And no more booze!
One glass can't hurt right? Maybe not, but to be safe no more alcohol. Your only job for the 3 weeks leading into your marathon is to stay healthy, avoid getting sick, and don't hurt yourself. It's especially difficult for the NYC marathon because the weather is just starting to get chilly. Want to know what comes with colder weather? THE COLD AND THE FLU!
So grab that purel bottle and start drinking those fluids. There's nothing worse than getting sick right before a marathon. Cut out the alcohol and lower your caffeine intake (both are diuretics and you want to drink all the water from here until race day.) Up your protein intake, stuff your face with complex carbs, and lower your fat intake. No more fried chicken and no more cupcakes until you cross the finish line.
It's taper time friends, which means you're about to spend the next 2 weeks listening to me complain about how bored I am.
Just kidding! There's about 3 TV shows I am about to binge watch/catch up on/start. Happy tapering boys and girls! We're only 13 days until marathon day. I'm getting pretty excited. Are you ready to run NYC with me? Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.