How To Survive a Marathon Taper

In eleven days I will run my biggest race ever. Big in the sense that my expectations are higher than they have ever been heading in to a marathon. This will be the seventh time I have run the Mississippi Blues Marathon and although the course has gone through many changes over the years, it basically always remains the same; hilly.  A year ago I PR’ed at 3:36 (8:15 mile pace) but I am in better shape this year. My training has gone much better and I’m just running faster than this time last year.

Since it is less than two weeks to the race, I am in full on taper mode, with my last long run behind me, only easy speed work and my mileage dropping off. Having tapered before, I know mentally and physically what I will be going through. Each easy run I will want to push the pace, even though I know there is absolutely nothing I can do to better prepare for the race. Running faster in training now, so close to the race, will just make me tired. So what do you do? Number one on the list of things to do to survive the marathon taper is to trust my training.

By trust my training, I mean to look back over what I have accomplished as I prepared for this race and make a list of the highlights or accomplishments. There is no better way to develop confidence and put your mind at ease. Here’s a summary of my sixteen week training plan for this race.

Number of training runs: 110
Total Miles: 854 (equivalent of 32 marathons in 16 weeks, 2 per week)
Average Miles per week: 53
Time Spent Running: 119 hrs 33 minutes
Average Pace: 8:23
Four Runs of 20+ miles: 21, 22, 21, 23
Set a new Half Marathon PR: 1:37 (7:24 mile pace) on the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon course (very hilly)
Number of Runs of 12 miles or greater: 21

The chart below shows the weekly average mile pace of all training runs during the week over the past few months. I also tracked my heart rate and thought it is not plotted, my average heart rate has not changed even though my training pace has dropped from 8:45 to 8:05 per mile.

Average Run Pace by Week

Average Run Pace by Week

I’m ready.

So as I bide my time in the next ten days I can be confident that I’ve done everything I could do to get myself ready to run this race faster than I have ever run a marathon. Trust my training, relax and enjoy the moment.

Related Articles:

What To Eat and Drink on a Long Run
Runner Self Talk – You Know You Do It
Marathon Long Run – Throwing Out the Playbook
Marathon Interval Training