Tag Archives: taper

Tapering for a Marathon

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As mentioned in my last post this is my last week of tapering before my goal marathon. You may also be in the same position if you have been training for a spring marathon.

The taper period used to be the part of marathon training I enjoyed the least. With more free time on my hands I often found myself getting restless, worrying about whether there were aspects of my training I could have improved, the forecast for race day, my meal plan etc.

Actually I can’t say that I have mastered the last one. My nutrition books come back off the shelf and get frequent use during this last week. My favourites are the following ones – The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition by Matt Fitzgerald and Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners.

Having been through it a number of times now I’ve come to accept the taper phase as a valuable part of the process of preparing for a marathon.

To get through it I’ve taken to getting caught up on reading and watching running related movies. It helps keep me relaxed and distracted about the items I mentioned above. I also enjoy the shorter easy paced runs more than I used to because it is a reminder that I am ready for race day.

Are you currently tapering for a spring marathon? If so what do you do with the extra free time?

Week 18 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon



Since race day is Sunday I decided to move this post up a few days in order to give a final overview of my training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. My training is now complete and I am ready to tackle marathon number 13, my 7th consecutive year here in Ottawa.

This week was not so much about training. It was more about staying healthy and staying disciplined with my diet. I think I was succesful on both fronts. At this point I am really starting to get anxious for Sunday morning.

In terms of running this week the only run really worth mentioning was Tuesday night’s tempo effort. It was my last run at a faster pace scheduled before the marathon. I ended up with a 13 km run that consisted of a 2.8 km warm up, 7 strides, 30:00 at 4:17/km and ending with a cool down.

I’ll go for a very easy 15-20 minute run Saturday morning to shake out my legs but for all intents and purposes my final training run was tonight’s easy effort. It was a perfect evening for a run…

Last training run before @ottawamarathon an easy 8.9 km run across the experimental farm #torw2015 #running

A photo posted by Patrick Girard (@pat42.2) on

Tomorrow I will head to the race expo to pick up my kit and take a look for deals although there isn’t really any gear I need. Other than that my plan for the weekend is to try and stay off my feet as much as possible in order to be prepared for Sunday morning.

How was your week?

Week 3 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon


Another week of training is nearly complete. So far I have managed to fit in three runs this week. The week will end with 21 km and 8 km runs this weekend. The week got off to a slow start with me being unable to run Monday and Tuesday but it has been a solid week of training.

The return of really cold weather saw me head to the dome two nights in a row for the first time. I still prefer being able to run outside but when the windchill gets to -30C being able to run indoor at the dome is a great option to have. Without this option I likely would have had to postpone one of my runs.

Wednesday I went for a 7 km run with 8 x 40 second accelerations. Last night was time for my usual speed intervals with the workout of choice this time being 6 x 50m, 6 x 100m followed by 2 x 1 km at 3:40/km. This makes three weeks in a row I have done 50 and 100 m sprints. I find they make for a great workout and am pleased so far that my coach has me doing them.

As with my training cycle for Philadelphia, my coach also has me doing stretching/mobility and strength exercises. So far I am managing to keep up with doing each routine twice a week. As long as I continued I think this will be as beneficial to my training as the mileage I am putting in.

Next week will represent the last week of my first block of my training program meaning it will be a bit of a taper after three weeks of going hard. Following that I will start another four week block with three weeks of hard training and ending with a week of recovery.

How did your week go?

Final Four Weeks

In Friday’s weekly training recap I mentioned that I was facing a bit of a dilemma in terms of how to approach the final four weeks of training for the Ottawa Marathon. After a couple of days of thought I have decided on an approach that will hopefully help me meet my goal on race day.

If you read Friday’s post you will recall that my dilemma was whether to opt for a recovery this week followed by a final week or heavy mileage or go for one final week of heavy mileage this week followed by a three taper.

Had you asked me on Friday I would have said I was leaning toward the first option but after more thought and consulting with a friend who runs a faster marathon than I do I am opting for the second option. After two straight weeks of 100 km mileage I am going to aim for a third straight 100 km week.

My previous marathon training plans suggested a two week taper. This time I am hoping that the extra week of tapering will leave my legs feeling stronger on race day. One thing is for sure, three straight 100 km weeks will certainly help my confidence on race day.

The decision to go with this approach had an impact on today’s long run. Since I am planning for a three week taper, I completed my final 32 km (20 mile) run this morning. As any of you who have run a marathon before will understand, this is a great training milestone to reach. It is another sign that race day is getting closer.

This morning’s run went well. I started off with my daughter in her Chariot for the first 8.5 km followed by the final 23 km on my own. I managed to keep a good pace for most of it. In fact, I caught myself going too fast several times. I was pushing closer to race pace than I wanted to on a long training run.

Do you opt for a two or three taper when you train for a marathon?

Wipe Out

As I have mentioned already, the whole point of this week is to stay loose and to rest my legs before the marathon on Sunday. Given that, tonight’s run was just supposed to be an easy 8 km run home from work.

I decided to head home using one of my more common routes – through the Central Experimental Farm, across the locks of the Rideau Canal and through the campus of Carleton University before heading home.

My run was going as planned, easy and effortless, and made even more pleasant by the fact that it was still warm enough to be wearing shorts which is quite rare for this time of year. However, about halfway as I was running through the university campus I fell as I was running along sidewalk I have followed countless times.

The area in question had been under construction over the summer but had been re-paved since my last run there a few days ago. Unbeknownst to me, a step was added to the sidewalk where new pavement was added. Since this step was not there before I was not expecting it at all and did not see it coming in the dark. I ran into it and fell to the ground. Fortunately for me the only damage done was a couple of minor scrapes.

Have you had any scares while tapering for a big race?