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Mission to Marathon: Crunch Time and Taper

I think that Hannah and I are sharing the same feeling of craziness in that our lives seem to be getting more hectic by the minute!  However she is at crunch time for her marathon training on top of everything else, so I give her a lot more credit for keeping things together!  Today she is back with some great tips (and fun photos) for getting through the final push of training and onto the all important taper.  

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Part of me can’t believe a month has passed since I wrote my last post for RAD and another part of me can’t believe October was just a month ago. Does anyone else feel that tossed around and pulled in many different directions? We have had a crazy month and it shows by my constant yawning and deep urge to hibernate. The good news is that since it’s November, we FINALLY get to talk about crunch time and taper time for the Walt Disney World 2015 Marathon Weekend! Woohoo! We are in the home stretch!

In keeping with my compulsive list-making self I’ve compiled yet another two for you! First is about crunch time (those last few weeks of long training runs) and the second is about tapering and why it is important (reasons to repeat to yourself over and over when you get that “I just need to do another 20 miler” urge to give yourself a confidence boost). Oscar Bean offered to help demonstrate some of the Crunch time tips and provide motivation for resting during taper…

Without further ado…

CRUNCH TIME

  1. Seize the day … or the hour.

Seize

Now is the time to make sure you are getting your long runs in. These are the Saturday and Sunday runs on the RunDisney site. But while you’re at it, make sure you’re getting your weeknight runs in too. If you can’t get a full 45 mins, but can do a mile or two, that’s great. More time on your feet will help in the long run.

  1. Don’t overdo it.

Overdo

While its important to get your training runs in, don’t feel ike you have to suddenly up the game and add in extra runs. Trust the plan. Also don’t try to increase your overall weekly mileage or speed up your time too quickly. Take it easy. Remember avoiding injury is the most important thing at this point.

  1. Stretch and stretch often.

Stretch

Formal stretching is important. Where you take time to roll out on the foam roller, take a yoga class, or just stretch at home, its essential to get you to race day and beyond. BUT, I personally recommend taking little opportunities throughout the day to stretch. I love stretching my calves in the shower in the morning with the hot water on my tight muscles (I have plantar fasciitis and have difficulty walking in the morning sometimes). I also stretch at work…calf stretches at my desk, touch my toes each time I get up to go to the bathroom, and make sure I am stretching out my back, shoulders and wrists throughout the day (office work can take a toll and your arms are more important to running than you may think).

  1. Keep yourself motivated.

Motivate (1)

Whatever it is that motivates you, now is the time to keep up with it. I love reading blogs from other marathoners and flipping through quotes on quoteland.com or Pinterest.

  1. Test stuff out.

Test

Now is the time to test out the new stuff. New gear, wear in new shoes, try new fuel, etc. You still have time to recover if something doesn’t work, but its close enough that the clothes and fuel will react the same (similar weather, etc).

TAPER TIME!

Tapering typically occurs 3-4 weeks before a marathon and 2-3 weeks before a half marathon. These are three reasons why tapering is important and why you shouldn’t ignore the sanctity of the taper.

MAXIMUM POTENTIAL: Tapering allows your body as much rest as possible before race day. A rested body will allow for maximum potential on race day.

PRESERVE CAPABILITIES: Tapering allows your body to rest without losing your aerobic capabilities (proper tapering that is…)

RELAX: Rest surpasses mileage as the most important part of your training. Enjoy it! If you’re a race addict, then this is probably one of the only times you’ll be able to run decreased mileage (b/c you’ll turn around after your marathon and start training for another one). If you’re not a race addict, then you’ve probably been dying to get some family time/couch time/extra work/holiday shopping/etc done…now is the time!

Rest

Rest2

Here is my December 2014 Run Training Plan!

23 – Week Dec 1: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 6 miles

24 – Week Dec 8: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 7 miles

25 – Week Dec 15: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 12 miles; Sunday 26 miles

**BEGIN TAPER**

26 – Week Dec 22: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 6 miles

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Long Stretches

27 – Week Dec 29: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 7 miles

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Long Stretches

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Hannah is an attorney from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She started running in 2011 while preparing for the Bar Exam as a means of helping her focus on her studying. Hannah completed her first half marathon in October 2011 at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. In 2013 she completed 13 running events including 5 half marathons, 2 10ks, 3 5ks and 3 fun races (2 color runs and a zombie run).  She enjoys setting goals and crossing things off of her “bucket list.” Follow Hannah at www.workorrun.com, where she blogs about her everyday goals and challenges.

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