4 weeks taper for first ever marathon?

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Satish K, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. Satish K

    Satish K Guest

    Hi All,

    I will be running my first marathon on May 4th. I already ran my last 20 miler on Apr 6th. Now I am
    in taper mode until my marathon and my remaining long runs are 15, 8 , 6 and the marathon. Is it
    okay to deviate from traditional 3 week taper rule? My aim is to just finish the marathon (anything
    under 5 hours will be great).

    Thanks,

    - Satish
     
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  2. Mike Conway

    Mike Conway Guest

    >From: "Satish K"

    >I will be running my first marathon on May 4th. I already ran my last 20 miler on Apr 6th.

    Let me wish you and early "good luck"...IIRC, you are running the Avenue of the Giants up in
    Humboldt? Supposed to be a beautitul run...

    >Now I am in taper mode until my marathon and my remaining long runs are 15, 8 , 6 and the marathon.
    >Is it okay to deviate from traditional 3 week taper rule? My aim is to just finish the marathon

    Tapering is as much art as it is science...since you are aiming to merely finish this marathon
    without much pressure of a time goal, I wouldn't worry too much about the taper. If you have been
    following a specific training program to this point, deviating from it will defeat the purpose of
    following it in the first place. Plan your work and work your plan...and stick to it if it feels
    like it is working for you.

    *In most cases* your body will retain the physiological effects of the longest run for about 4-5
    weeks (don't ask me to quote the studies on this, but this has worked for me and I have read
    elsewhere on this topic), so your 20-miler 4 weeks out should be fine...just resist the temptation
    to add mileage to any of your runs, particularly during the last 10 days. As you have read on
    another thread about the last 3 days before the marathon, your mind will start to convince you that
    you feel like crap and should go out and do a long run..."you're lazy" or words to that effect will
    be dancing in your head. You'll feel sluggish, sort of confirming the thought.

    Don't give in to those feelings...you will pay for it dearly on race day. I'm sure almost everyone
    here who has tapered for a major effort could write a story about how s*itty they felt the day or
    two before, and how great race day turned out *presuming they stuck to their plan and the taper!*

    Anyway, Satish, good luck...enjoy your taper, and of course enjoy race day. Both are rewards for all
    the hard training leading up to now.

    Mike C
     
  3. I have often advocated for the 4 week taper on this list. There is much scientific evidence to
    support it. Studies have shown that we retain the ability to run long for roughly 16 weeks after the
    last lengthy effort! Additionally, research indicates that most runners require 4 weeks to recover
    from the muscle damage incurred by runs longer than about 11 miles. I've used the 4 week taper for
    my last 10 marathons. Most people taper for 3, believing they'll lose their edge--that their body
    will lose its capacity to "go long"--if they taper any longer. However, they'll never know if they
    might have performed even better with a 4 week taper. There are many examples of quality elite
    runners performing well after unexpectedly long tapers. Probably the most well known such example is
    that of Emil Zatopek, who was injured prior to the 1952 Olympic Games and could not run much prior
    to the Games. Then he won the 5k, 10k and marathon! Also, the men's marathon champion in the 1984 LA
    games, Carlos Lopes, was hit by a car prior to the Olympics that year, which limited his training.
    An acquaintance of mine who has discussed this issue with some Kenyan elite runners told me that
    they looked at him somewhat incredulously and indicated that their bodies already knew how to run
    long--what they needed to do late in their training sequences was fast and not long running! Anyway,
    I submit that the 3 week taper tradition is a myth that has been elevated to the level of "fact," or
    "best practice," bolstered by the dominant voices in the running community over the years. I believe
    that no one tapering program--three, four or even two weeks--is "right." Everyone is different and
    no one regimen works for all. Anyway, right now I'm in the third week of my taper for Boston!!

    Best of luck in your first marathon! To increase your chances of having a good experience, remember
    to: carbohydrate load (4g per lb of body weight each day) for 3 days prior to the race; drink 12-14
    oz of gatorade prior to the start; start out a few seconds slower than goal pace in the first couple
    of miles; drink 20-24 oz of gatorade every hour during the race and stay away from water and solids
    like gu--you don't need them.

    Dave

    Satish K wrote:
    > Hi All,
    >
    > I will be running my first marathon on May 4th. I already ran my last 20 miler on Apr 6th. Now I
    > am in taper mode until my marathon and my remaining long runs are 15, 8 , 6 and the marathon. Is
    > it okay to deviate from traditional 3 week taper rule? My aim is to just finish the marathon
    > (anything under 5 hours will be great).
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > - Satish
     
  4. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Guest

    > >From: "Satish K"
    >
    > >I will be running my first marathon on May 4th. I already ran my last 20 miler on Apr 6th.
    >
    > >Now I am in taper mode until my marathon and my remaining long runs are 15, 8 , 6 and the
    > >marathon. Is it okay to deviate from traditional 3 week taper rule? My aim is to just finish the
    > >marathon

    Your planned taper is fine for your goal. You are going to be among the runners at the start with
    the freshest legs which will be a lot of fun. You won't lose much conditioning with your plan during
    the last month. Enjoy.
     
  5. Satish K

    Satish K Guest

    "Mike Conway" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >From: "Satish K"
    > Anyway, Satish, good luck...enjoy your taper, and of course enjoy race
    day.
    > Both are rewards for all the hard training leading up to now.
    >
    > Mike C

    Mike, Yup, I am running the Ave of Giants in Humboldts. Thanks for the words of wisdom and wishes.
    By reading other posts, I am pretty sure I will be okay doing this 4 week taper. - Satish
     
  6. Satish K

    Satish K Guest

    > Best of luck in your first marathon! To increase your chances of having a good experience,
    > remember to: carbohydrate load (4g per lb of body weight each day) for 3 days prior to the race;
    > drink 12-14 oz of gatorade prior to the start; start out a few seconds slower than goal pace in
    > the first couple of miles; drink 20-24 oz of gatorade every hour during the race and stay away
    > from water and solids like gu--you don't need them.
    >
    > Dave

    Dave -

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge, experience and facts. I appreciate it. I have made up my mind to
    stick with 4 week taper and hopefully I will have a good race. Won't forget to carbo load and
    hydrate as you suggested.

    Thanks again, Satish
     
  7. Satish K

    Satish K Guest

    > Your planned taper is fine for your goal. You are going to be among the
    runners at
    > the start with the freshest legs which will be a lot of fun. You won't
    lose much
    > conditioning with your plan during the last month. Enjoy.
    >
    Okay, then, 4 week taper it is. Thanks, Chris. - Satish
     
  8. Dieshooter

    Dieshooter Guest

    Go getem Satish .. I might have gone with only a 3 week taper, but only to combat that doubt you
    already expressed .. On the Saturday before my first two marathons, I've done a 7-10 miler, if for
    nothing else to convince myself "I still got it" .. but for the remaining six days, I'm down to a
    5'ver and a couple three-milers ..

    More importantly, for my first marathons, i've found the day and night before to be crucial. On the
    day before, try to relax and drink a pantload of Gatorade or water, just chug all you can, and try
    to get some sleep. It'll be tough (especially because you have to keep getting up to hit the
    bathroom because of all the Gatorade you drank). On the morning of, don't be bullied into eating
    anything you don't normally eat by folks pushing weird foods at you. Just get up and go. Whatever
    you ate the day before your 20-milers, that's fine.

    Drink TONS of liquids along the route, walk through aid stations to ensure you get plenty of fluids,
    relax, and you'll surprise yourself.

    To quote Dickie V: "It's Awesome, Baby"

    Be sure to report back with a full tale of your success!

    Gettem
     
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