Half Marathon Tapering

Featuring TheRunZone?s resident coach Tinman. All participants are welcome to post and reply to topics in this section whether you?re looking for advice, or sharing your own coaching experience.

Moderators: Moderator, Global Moderator

Post Reply
Captainblood
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:07 pm

Half Marathon Tapering

Post by Captainblood » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:44 pm

I have a key half marathon in a week and a half and the training has gone great so far. I nailed my last 2 key workouts and am now heading into the home stretch. Saturday's workout was one I have geared my training for and one I have done in the past: 10k at calculator modeled HMP pace (not actual because I have only run 2 halves). This workout is usually pretty easy, but on Saturday it was particularly easy. I extended it and ended up running 7.5 miles at modeled HMP pace. Sunday I was fine, but Monday I was very sluggish and tired. Today I felt better, but I postponed my hard workout until tomorrow because I knew I was still feeling the effects from Saturday (and perhaps a very hard workout last Tuesday).

I originally planned for a very hard workout today, 20 minutes at threshold, 4 minute jog recover, 18 minutes at threshold, but I reconsidered and will do 6x5 minutes at threshold with a 1 minute jog recover tomorrow. In the past I have done a hard workout a week before the race as well (something like 5 miles at HMP), but I feel like the hay is in the barn and I would prefer to freshen up my legs and absorb the work I have done. I used to do a 13 mile long run the week before the race, but I think I will do 10 this time with something like 5 x 1 mile at HMP with 1:30 recovery.

My question is how does everyone taper for their races (half marathons and marathons in particular)? I guess the most important detail would be how much quality in the last 2 weeks.

I am knocking off 5 to 10 miles off my normal week this week and next week I will run 40% less than an average week the final week. I have had some great races when I had an injury concern a couple weeks out and basically cruised into the race trying to get healthy.

ThomasB
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:00 pm

Re: Half Marathon Tapering

Post by ThomasB » Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:54 am

Other people might answer more precisely than me but in fact it depends of what kind of runner you are.

If you have lots of fast fibers in your muscles, you will get some benefice in reducing your mileage only the last week (but in my opinion, if you are in this case you should reduce your mileage from 30% maximum) while still doing your CV or specific training without hammering on it.

If you are a slow twitch runner, reducing your mileage is not necessary and can make you lose some fitness (Tinman used to tell that our blood volume adapt really fast). In this case I would simply recommand you to not reduce the milage (or maximum 10/15% reduction) but at the same time, dont crash yourself in a hard workout during the last 9/10 days before your competition. Slow twich runners are like cyclist in the "Tour de France", if they reduce mileage or if they stop running one day, they feel sluggish.

dilluh
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 454
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:40 pm

Re: Half Marathon Tapering

Post by dilluh » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:46 pm

As far as what to do, quality-wise, 9-10 days out...

Tinman's schedules for me leading up to a key race have typically included a workout (usually pace-specific and continuous, i.e., not reps) that is shorter than a normal workout. For instance, I like a 2 miler at 10k pace about 4 days out from a key 10k race. Gets your legs feeling the pace correctly, it's continuous and long enough to get you mentally there, it keeps the ball rolling, and doesn't overdo anything in the slightest. In that vein - a 3-4 miler at goal HMP at 5-6 days out from the race would be similar. Don't believe there's some magic workout at this point. Now, the magic is keeping the ball rolling (as you've done for many months now) and get your head in the right place to race. I'd suggest no more than 20% cutdown on mileage considering you are firing on all cylinders and not climbing back from injury from my experience as a "stamina" runner.

Captainblood
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:07 pm

Re: Half Marathon Tapering

Post by Captainblood » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:11 pm

Part of the reduction in mileage is semantics since my weeks generally run Sunday through Saturday and my long run is on Saturday. Basically my Sunday half is my long run, but the way the week is setup I miss the long run on both sides of the week.

My feeling has always been to run an hour easy on Monday, an hour on Tuesday with something like 4 x 4:30 at Threshold (5K pace +25 seconds) with 2:00 jog recover (a full hard end of cycle workout would be 5 x 6:00 at Threshold with a 1:00 recover), and from Wednesday on I start winding the time down 50 minutes, 45 minutes, 40 minutes, and 30 minutes with a couple of days of strides.

Personally that always gets me to the line "feeling" fresh and rested and not flat. Now whether or not I would be better off running more I have no idea. If you flip-flopped Saturday and Sunday my week would probably be 45 miles down from 65 to 70. I can certainly handle more than that. I will see how I feel and if I am feeling strong and rested I might go extra.

I had my final hard workout today. Nothing crazy. I wanted to make my last workout a bit easier than in the past because I feel this is more about maintaining fitness than gaining fitness. I did 5 x 1 mile at modelled HMP (6:18 @ 1%) with a 1:00 jog recovery and then 4 x 200 at VO2 Max. This is not terribly hard as I have done 8 reps of HMP in the past (although that did seem too much in retrospect).

Captainblood
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:07 pm

Re: Half Marathon Tapering

Post by Captainblood » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:11 pm

Part of the reduction in mileage is semantics since my weeks generally run Sunday through Saturday and my long run is on Saturday. Basically my Sunday half is my long run, but the way the week is setup I miss the long run on both sides of the week.

My feeling has always been to run an hour easy on Monday, an hour on Tuesday with something like 4 x 4:30 at Threshold (5K pace +25 seconds) with 2:00 jog recover (a full hard end of cycle workout would be 5 x 6:00 at Threshold with a 1:00 recover), and from Wednesday on I start winding the time down 50 minutes, 45 minutes, 40 minutes, and 30 minutes with a couple of days of strides.

Personally that always gets me to the line "feeling" fresh and rested and not flat. Now whether or not I would be better off running more I have no idea. If you flip-flopped Saturday and Sunday my week would probably be 45 miles down from 65 to 70. I can certainly handle more than that. I will see how I feel and if I am feeling strong and rested I might go extra.

I had my final hard workout today. Nothing crazy. I wanted to make my last workout a bit easier than in the past because I feel this is more about maintaining fitness than gaining fitness. I did 5 x 1 mile at modelled HMP (6:18 @ 1%) with a 1:00 jog recovery and then 4 x 200 at VO2 Max. This is not terribly hard as I have done 8 reps of HMP in the past (although that did seem too much in retrospect).

Biff
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:24 pm

Re: Half Marathon Tapering

Post by Biff » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:46 am

If that usually gets you to the line feeling fresh, I think you are right not to mess with it. And I personally think it was a good idea to reduce the number of HMP reps in your last hard workout over the weekend. The hay is in the barn, so to speak, so no need to hammer a crazy hard workout.

Good luck! Hope to hear about a big PR this weekend.

Captainblood
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:07 pm

Re: Half Marathon Tapering

Post by Captainblood » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:33 pm

I ran a half marathon yesterday and am happy with 1:25:30. I ran the same race last year in 1:24:41 in windy 60 degree weather. Yesterday it was 73 degrees at the start with 95% humidity.

My plan was to aim at PR pace and hope I had gained enough fitness to overcome the heat and humidity. My plan was to be at 10k in 40:00 or better (I ended up at 40:12) and then try to be at 10 miles between 64:30 and 65:00 (I was there at 64:56), but I just didn't have enough the last 5k (20:34) with the temperature climbing and into a slight headwind. My fastest mile was the first mile in 6:20 and my worst mile was the 12th mile in 6:46. I ran most of the race alone, but I was able to chase down some people in the second half of the race so I wan't isolated.

Heat affects me alot and it isn't uncommon to be 10 or 15 seconds slower per mile even in a 5k so I am encouraged with the result. As a bonus I didn't even expect to place in my age group as it is a competetive race and I ended up finishing in the top 25 overall and winning my age group by close to 2 minutes. Most runners were 1 to 3 minutes slower so I feel good that I only lost 49 seconds over last year.

Thanks everyone for your help and input. As always it really helped a lot.

Tchuck
Full Member
Full Member
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:02 pm
Location: Green Bay

Re: Half Marathon Tapering

Post by Tchuck » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:36 am

Good job! I would argue you were more fit and ran a better race factoring in the conditions.

Captainblood
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:07 pm

Re: Half Marathon Tapering

Post by Captainblood » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:53 pm

Thanks, TChuck.

I hate to factor in conditions and it was a hot and humid day, but I was surprised when a lot of runners 4 or 5 minutes slower than normal. That seems like an outrageous amount. Some of it might have been going out at normal pace as if it was cooler and then crashing because of a weather related pacing issue. I did poke around at some of the people around me and see there normal times...the guy who finished in the next position behind me at 1:26:00 was from the Northeast and normally runs a 1:21:xx.

It does make me feel like I ran a good race and under better conditions I am confident I can make up the 50 seconds I need for a PR.

Captainblood
Sr. Member
Sr. Member
Posts: 265
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:07 pm

Re: Half Marathon Tapering

Post by Captainblood » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:17 pm

I jumped in a half marathon this weekend because the weather was ideal. Low 60s and mid 50 dewpoint with low wind.

I am currently training for a longer race and didn't taper until a few days before the race. Despite running alone for 13 miles and 4 large bridge crossings i managed to PR by over a minute in 1:23:xx. My last mile was by far my fastest and I was ran basically even effort and even splits when hills and wind are taken into consideration.

Very encouraged by the result and I firmly believe I can run 1 to 2 minutes faster if I can run in a pack or at least see someone else in the race.

ThomasB
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:00 pm

Re: Half Marathon Tapering

Post by ThomasB » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:14 pm

Congratulations! Good work is paying slowly but surely!

Post Reply