Tapering Off the Mileage in Preparation for a Marathon

This past week I ran a total of 41 miles with a long run of only 7 miles.  I had planned to run longer today (Sunday) but sleep (or lack thereof) needs required me to stay in bed and vedge out this morning.  Well truth be told, I owed my wife a "sleep in" morning today in exchange for something she provided to me.  We bartered. I gave up my last opportunity for a 10 mile tempo run in preparation for the marathon in exchange for, well, let's just say that it is something that married couples with young kids usually do not get enough of.

If my wife reads this, I am dead meat.  So if you enjoy reading this blog or Conejo Valley Guide in general, sshhhhh, do not tell her.

I'm doing a 3 week taper for the Santa Barbara Marathon on December 6th. The rule of thumb I use for a 3 week taper is to run 75% of "normal" mileage in the 3rd week pre-marathon, 50% 2 weeks out and 25% the final week.

My mileage in week 4 pre-marathon was 54, which means my 41 miles was exactly 75% of that.  I don't usually grab a calculator and try to get precise with these calculations.  I just go with my gut.  I got lucky last week.

So this coming week, Thanksgiving week, should not be a problem "forcing" myself to run less, given the holiday goings on.  I do intend to gastronomically enjoy the holiday, but will do my best not to overeat too much.

The final taper week is usually the hardest, especially if you've been training really hard. Since I haven't been training really hard for this marathon, slacking off the mileage won't be mentally or physically difficult for me. 

The final 3 days pre-marathon one should perhaps only run once or twice, just to stay limber.  No training you do the final week before a marathon will help your marathon.  It's too late...what you DON'T do will help you more than what you do do (or doo doo, for that matter).

Some people do 4 week tapers, running 80% of normal week 4, 60% week 3, 40% week 2 and 20% week 1.  Nothing wrong with that plan either. 

Don't get too caught up in precision. The percentage don't have to be exact.  The overall goal is too ease off the mileage in the final weeks prior to a marathon in order to allow the body to recover and rest up for 26.2.