I’m five days into the penultimate week of training before the Marine Corps Marathon.
That means I’ve got 16 hard weeks of training behind me, and now it’s time to back off and take it easy for the two weeks leading up to the race. Taper time! But since I’m following the Hansons Marathon Method, the jokes on me. There is no taper! At least, not in the usual sense. The Hansons’ marathon training program involves a lot of running, and the taper is no different.
During this week of training I had both my final strength workout on Tuesday (6 x 1 mile for 10 miles total) and my final tempo run on Thursday (10 miles at marathon pace, 12 miles total). Yesterday’s tempo run took place exactly 10 days before the Marine Corps Marathon. Hanson philosophy says it takes 10 days to reap the benefits of a hard workout. So from here on out it’s all easy running. That makes for a 10 day taper.
During that 10 day taper, the training program still has you running six days per week. That kind of freaks me out. Logic tells me I should be decreasing the number of days I run and getting extra rest leading up to the big day. But the Hansons argue that if you subtract too much training too quickly, it could leave you feeling sluggish and even fatigued. Their reasoning:
…consider how you would feel if you were accustomed to drinking a couple of cups of coffee in the morning and then suddenly gave it up cold turkey. Your body probably will react with a dull headache. If instead you cut back to one cup, you limit the effects of withdrawal and usually end up feeling better. This is the same idea – reduce the stress while keeping the body happy in its preestablished routine.
Alright so that does make sense. The last thing I want to do during my taper is lose any of the fitness I have gained. But then I look at the final two weeks of training and forget about all that logic:
Do you see those last three days of training? Not only am I running the three days leading up to the race, but it’s going to total 14 miles. Seriously guys!? They better know what they’re doing. Although, everything they have told me up to this point has been true. They promised that at times training would seem impossible, but that I would get through it and I did. So there’s no reason to doubt them now…. right?? At least I’m not likely to face the taper crazies!
How do you usually taper for a big race?
What do you think, does the Hanson logic make sense?