Sunday, 13 January 2013 14:07

3 weeks before a marathon = time to TAPER

After 15 weeks of training, this week marks the 16th week of training and the 3rd last week before the African continent marathon in Marrakech on 27 January 2013. The last 3 weeks before a race is all about tapering and letting the muscles in your body recover while storing up energy for the big day.  It can be a strange concept for those new to marathon training/running as the reduced intensity of training may lead to doubts about the level of preparedness, panic attacks and sluggishness due to the fewer hours spent running – what runners call Taper Madness!


The key to understanding tapering is that ALL the hard work has been done in the weeks and months leading to these final weeks.


For my first few marathons, I would try to sneak in that one last long run during the taper period as I convinced myself that that it would enhance my performance. Ha! 10 marathons down the road, much as I’m still learning to deal with Taper Madness, I’ve learnt that my body does truly need to rest in order for peak (or near-peak) performance on the day of the marathon. By rest, I do not mean no running at all. What it means, and this is based on Hal Higdon's "Ultimate Training Guide", is the following:

1. Cut total mileage;

2. Cut frequency;

3. Cut distance, not intensity;

4. Cut weight-training in the gym; and

5. Reduce calories consumption in the diet.


The hill training, tempo, interval and long runs done in the past 15 weeks have been challenging, tiring and painful at times.  For instance, I surprised myself at the end of my 14th week of training when I discovered that I'd ran a total of 101km (63 miles) over the course of that week. No wonder my legs were aching!


What has motivated me to continue working hard is the desire to improve my level of fitness and the kind and generous support I've received from everyone so far for my 7 Marathons on 7 Continents endeavour and my bid to raise funds for the elderly.  


Thank you!


Leave a comment