We Ask, You Answer: How Hard Should You Train Leading up to Race Day?

“We Ask, You Answer” is our new blog series featuring your training tips and race day advice. The concept is simple: We’ll ask the questions, and you’ll answer. Then, we’ll compile and share your advice. Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter!

Photo Sep 30, 11 18 39 AMWith only three Saturdays left before the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, “To taper or not to taper?” seems to be the question on a lot of our runners’ minds. So, for today’s “We Ask, You Answer” post, we turned to our marathoners and 1/2 marathoners to share their advice on tapering:

According to Michael Walsdorf, “30 years racing experience has taught me tapering/peaking is just as much art as science. Just like training plans there are certain guidelines to follow but you have to experiment and see what works best for you. Basically the greater your base[line of mileage], the less of a taper you’ll require. For the marathon I’ve found that 2 weeks is enough to taper, unless you’re nursing an injury. Last three weekend long runs look like this: 20 miles, 14 miles, 8-12 miles, marathon [slightly less for half].”

Here’s how many miles Anthony Mercado plans to log: “I cut to 70% 2 weeks out, then 50% the week of the race. However, I keep intensity through the Wednesday before marathon. A 5K at race pace keeps my legs from getting stagnant, and I run a mile or 2 the day before.” Phil Trendell said that he follows Hal Hidgon’s tapering plan: “Love the taper and recovery time…fresh legs going into a race is a good thing. Peak at 20, then long runs of 12, 8, and then race!” And according to Dennis Ley: “I’ll run a 20 miler two weeks prior. I’ll run the Dayton river corridor half the week before. And I will take off Saturday and only run 3-4 miles on Friday. But I did peak this week with 92 miles. And I will keep it under 45 miles the 6 days prior to marathon.”

Holly Mowery added some advice for our 1/2 marathoners: “Begin to taper 2 weeks out for the 1/2. I try not to run anything over 6 miles the weekend before as my final long run. The week of, I do an easy 2-3 mile run on Tuesday and a good walk on Friday or Saturday. I also cut my lifting down that week to build up my glycogen stores and then follow my nutrition guides. I have to cut dairy and fiber starting on Friday or else I get sick to my stomach. Rested, fresher legs has helped me better than more miles not only in the race but in recovery.”

A few runners also added some general tapering advice. Meghan Crosby said: “Cut down slowly on your miles. The week of the marathon, cut out speed and intervals. Just run. If the lower miles drive you bonkers (like they do to me), go for a walk.” Kirsten Leymaster shared: “The difference between my marathons with and without a taper is about a minute. Per mile. That’s right, you heard me. Resting up is my secret weapon. Relax and trust the schedule.” And a final tip from Jim McKeever: “Take it easier than you think you should. It’ll drive you nuts, but better to be rested and injury-free.”

Click here for additional tapering tips from our runners, or feel free to share your own in the comments, on Facebook and on Twitter!

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One thought on “We Ask, You Answer: How Hard Should You Train Leading up to Race Day?

  1. Agree with Michael W. “the greater your base[line of mileage], the less of a taper you’ll require.” I’m doing 325 miles a month, so I’ll run 20 this weekend, the Dayton River Corridor Half Marathon next weekend, then taper the last couple days to save some miles.

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