Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Taper (as opposed to the tapir)

Tapir: The tapir is a large, herbivorous mammal, similar in shape to a pig, with a short, prehensile snout. i.e. I like the zebra but that’s some tapir.

Taper: The taper is generally the three-week period prior to the marathon where exercise and training is reduced to allow the body to recover and ready itself for race day. i.e. I like training but boy do I love the taper.

The taper is usually what marathon runners refer to as the three weeks leading up the marathon. It is the time that most people regard as what’s needed to allow the body to fully recover from all the miles and all the punishment it has been put through to get it ready for the marathon.

To give some perspective to ready yourself for a marathon you have to train the body to run 26.2 miles at a particular pace. In order to do this, you put yourself through a series of exercises that cause it to extend itself bit by bit. After each bit by bit the body then recovers, rebuilds and gets stronger. As long as you don’t extend it too far that it injures itself (guilty) then you will slowly get stronger and stronger. However, even by doing this incrementally your body is still getting tired from all those miles and unable to run a marathon. So, three-weeks out, you reduce the miles and allow the body to fully recover thus capitalising on all that work and giving you the best shot of running a darn good marathon.

So what should you now do:
·         Sleep a little longer.
·         Reduce the mileage particularly the long runs.
·         Focus on snappy sessions that keep the speed up but perhaps with a little less intensity.
·         Get a good sports massage.
·         Hydrate.

So what should you not do:
·         Keep the 20 mile runs going.
·         Go on the beer.
·         Join a rugby team.
·         Look for PB’s in a charity 10 k race.
·         Begin lunching at McDonald’s.

My taper started Sunday. Boy, do I love the taper.

Yesterday’s training
8 x 800s completed in 3.00 or 3.45 a minute pace with 1 and a half minute recovery in between.

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