Trust the Taper

I recently reread Hal Higdon’s chapter or tapering in preparation for these last 3 week of training before the Chicago marathon on October 13th.  I picked up some interesting tips, but before I share those with you, I wanted to fill you in on my week (and why you haven’t heard from me).


Sunday, I took an active recovery from my 20 mile run to walk the mall with my girlfriends.  We had a fantastic lunch at Cheesecake Factory, with plenty of delicious carbs for me before talking and shopping our way through our favorite stores.  I had planned to do a meal plan on Sunday but realized that this was an odd week ahead, so my plan involved mostly premade options (hello veggie burgers) and grilling.  Sunday night, the BOY made some of his famous grilled fajitas for dinner while I finished laundry and other exciting household stuff.




Monday morning, I woke up to run 5 miles in the cold and dark and then realized I didn’t have to work that afternoon and would much rather run later!  Instead I was a TA in a graduate classroom that morning, which I LOVE!  Then took the rest of the afternoon off to spend time with a friend, who is soon moving to Arizona and catch a late night Cubs game with my family.




We had the most beautiful evening…even if the Cubs didn’t win!




I slept Monday night at my parent’s house and got to sleep in after our late night.  Tuesday morning, the first thing on my agenda was a 6 mile run.  Which went great!  Even without pushing and on tired legs times all of the stairs at the Cubs game, I still made decent time.  I spent the rest of the day at work and come home late.




Moving on to Wednesday.  I worked a 12 hour day and was just tired and a bit cranky by the end of it.  Although this was the one day I had ‘planned’ a meal of grilled chicken, the BOY and I decided last minute (as I walked in the door) to use our almost expired Cooper’s Hawk gift card for some dinner and a glass of wine.  When I came home, all I wanted to do was curl up like Cooper.




Thursday came with running decisions…my long run of the weekend is 12 miles but I wasn’t exactly sure where to fit in with all of the other excitement I’ve got going on this weekend!  This morning, I really wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and run, but had no energy for speed.  Despite…I pushed through my fatigue to pull out a solid 4 mile pace run maintaining less than 8:30 minute miles.




I’m still not exactly sure when I will be squeezing in this next long run…tomorrow morning I have a massage booked : )  But I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually!  I had some strong runs this week in perfect fall weather.  Woo Hoo!  This week has been pretty crazy as I’m sure you can tell from this scattered post.  Plus, it’s been tough to blog (and read your wonderful blogs) with Cooper all up on my computer.





So back to the purpose of the this post…the taper!

I’ve been skimming through Hal Higdon’t book Marathon for the past two months.  I found the chapter on tapering to be one of the most interesting. 


Here are a few things that I learned from Hal…

-Marathon training is not the time to lose weight.

-Tapering should begin 3 weeks before race day after your longest (most likely 20 mile) run

-Decrease mileage by ~25% each week.

-Decrease running frequency.

-Even though you are decreasing weekly mileage, you should keep up your pace and intensity to get your body used to the speed.

-Don’t use your free time for other exercise, such as strength training.

-Begin increasing carbs each meal the week before the marathon.

-Don’t try to make up for any lost training during your taper.

-Cut back on calories during your taper.

-Eliminate junk food and empty calories the entire week before your race.

-It is ok to have a beer the night before the race if that’s what you typically do.

-Tour the course if you are able.

-Don’t overeat the night before. Hal says ‘Eat what you usually eat. Drink what you usually drink.’

-Don’t worry too much about sleep the night before the race, but get a good night’s sleep two nights before.


Hal says that he almost does no work for the last 3 days before the marathon with a light jog the day before.


I have been doing a lot of mental preparation this week as I get closer to race day.  I seem to have found a new love of carbs, potatoes in particular and of course worry about my strength as I decrease my miles and frequency.


My last piece of advice…

Trust the Taper!!!



Are you tapering right now?

What tips do you have?

15 thoughts on “Trust the Taper

  1. Sounds like you had a great week. Unfortunately, we aren’t going to make it back up to Door County like we wanted to this week. I am so bummed! I guess it is going to be our summer vacation spot. I really wanted to see it during the fall though. 😦 Good luck on your taper. I can’t wait to read all about your marathon (and Cooper)!

    • Oh so sad! You definitely need to make a fall trip that way soon. I’m not going to make it up this fall either but the BOY and I were just raving about DC to our friends last night. Taper going well. Plenty of carbs but having trouble with the resting portion : )

  2. Cooper looks like he is doing the blogging-he is a really fun cat. Have you tried a laser pointer with him yet? DH did it this week with our DP (darling puppy) and it was a riot!

    • He loves the laser pointer. We had to take a little break after his surgery and so he is so happy to have it back. He gets really excited and then I hide little treats for him to find in the end. He is really cute and funny and we love his energy!

  3. WHOOO OUR upcoming races are on the same day!! I’ll be thinking of you when I stop at your half way point! HA! So much fun stuff going on for you right now!

  4. I try not to think too much during taper because I find that really stresses me out! I reduce the intensity of my workouts, try to get in a good amount of carbs and protein (without overeating or under eating <– hard to do both!), and start visualizing race day. I have a hard time mentally preparing myself for a marathon when I'm in the thick of training so I use my extra time and easier runs to imagine race morning and crossing the finish line!

    • Those are some great tips! The overeating portion seems to be the toughest and although I am busy it’s hard to be skipping so many runs. I am trying to visualize my race and stay confident while being realistic about the challenges to come. Hope you have a great weekend!

  5. This weather is perfect for running… though I really do miss July and August temps 🙂

    Hooray for the taper! I do a ton of visualization during it… the start, various points on the course and that final stretch to the finish. Hope you’re enjoying it and feeling ready to run!

    • I’m getting there. Feeling a little batty with my extra time and seriously can’t stop eating : )

      This is my kind of running weather for sure! Crossing my fingers for good race day temps!

    • I know…doesn’t that help give the taper some structure. I read through most of Hal’s book and found it really interesting. I’m happy that I was able to use and share some of his tips!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s