Dispatch #20: The Taper

    

So it’s now two weeks before the Phuket Marathon. Last Friday I ran 32 kilometers, which acted as a dress rehearsal for what I plan to wear. Turns out tights have nothing on tri shorts when it comes to chafing prevention as well as heat management. So, even if it’s dorky to wear tri gear to a marathon, that’s what’s going to happen, fashion be damned!

Dispatch #20: The Taper
I don’t have a thigh gap, so shorts will chafe!

Now that the heavy mileage is done, my focus is on recovery so that by marathon date I’ll be raring to go! I wrote a blog post a few years ago about the taper as a way to keep myself sane during these weeks of less training. Here are some of my favorite parts from The Art and Science of the Taper:

The Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training says that research has shown reducing mileage volume and intensity can improve time on race day. Dropping mileage three weeks before goal race by keeping easy runs and intervals but limiting hard efforts like tempo runs improves runners’ performance by three percent. VO2 max is maintained, but fast-twitch fibers got bigger, stronger, and more powerful. Even better, their cardiovascular system and muscle capacity rebounded. So you don’t lose any fitness during those weeks of decreased mileage. In fact, you become even fitter.

What should I expect and what should I do during the taper?

  • I’ll feel awful initially. Rest up.
  • I’ll worry I haven’t done enough. Get a reality check.
  • I may gain weight. Fuel appropriately.
  • My confidence may flag. Visualize success.

Tapering doesn’t mean avoiding all exercise — in fact, doing nothing is the best way to make yourself feel flat on race day. I will be continuing my swim and bike sessions, which I have been enjoying as a respite from all that running. I also crosstrain to help with core strength and lateral stability, which in the end helps me run with better form for longer.

Dispatch #20: The Taper
Who would have thought I’d develop some affinity for swimming?

Dispatch #20: The Taper
The medicine ball has been one of my best friends lately.

With the extra time I’ve found at my disposal from reducing training load, I’ve also been able to rouse myself to do things other than train. Last week I tapped my artsy side at Sip & Gogh Studio in Kapitolyo during the launch of Sufree Stevia Sweetener. While I had worked with pastels back in high school and am kind of handy with a pencil, I’d never painted on canvas before. It was a nice break from routine and allowed me to take my mind off the task that is ahead.

Dispatch #20: The Taper
Follow my adventures on Snapchat! Username: kikayrunner

When it comes to major races like these there’s always the unknown that causes anxiety — it’s the future, that’s why it’s unknown! But having done even longer endurance events in the past, there’s no longer any fear about not being able to go the distance. It’ll be interesting to see how my body will feel during an open marathon versus an ironman, and how deep my reserves of determination can go. I guess we’ll find out in a couple of weeks. :)

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