The official Honolulu Marathon FB page had a question about what people did today, seven days from the marathon. A lot of people said they did their last long run. I was surprised at the range of distances, from a few miles to half marathons. Obviously there is not much agreement in how to taper for a marathon.
I designed my own training plan, using Training Peaks and modifying the workout suggestions from the virtual coach. The idea is to do just enough running while doing the majority of endurance work on the bike. I borrowed this idea from Ironman training and wrote about it previously. My peak days were at week 16 for the bike (60 miles), and week 18 for the run, when I did my 26K race simulation. My taper really started there:
Nov 30 Sun. Long run, 17 mi, race simulation.
Dec 6 Sat. Long run, 5 mi, last 3 at goal pace.
Dec 7 Sun. Long bike, 25mi mostly 1Z some 2Z no hills.
Dec 8 Mon. Swim. Dur 0:30.
Dec 9 Tue. Recovery run. Dur: 0:30. Followed by strength session, dur:1:00.
Dec 10 Wed. Taper repeats. Dur: 0:30. Warm up including 4 pick-ups. Then 4 x 90 seconds (recover 3 minutes) at next race pace. Relaxed speed! NOT all out. OPTIONAL 0:30 swim. Afternoon massage.
Dec 11 Thu. Taper repeats. Dur: 0:30. Warm up including 4 pick-ups. Then 3 x 90 seconds (recover 3 minutes) at next race pace. Relaxed speed! NOT all out.
Dec 12 Fri. Taper Repeats. Dur: 0:20. Warm up including 4 pick-ups. Then 2 x 90 seconds (recover 3 minutes) at next race pace. Relaxed speed! NOT all out.
Dec 13 Sat. Day off.
Dec 14 Sun. Race.
In the week between Nov 30 and Dec 6 there were the usual workouts, the stuff I had been doing throughout my twelve week plan. I've not included them here for clarity. Before the simulation there was a little taper in the plan, although I blew the execution and came to the simulation well off my best form. One more lesson to learn.
It is my understanding that the end of the taper calls for short workouts at relatively high intensity. Not all out, but definitely not at an easy jog. Just enough to remind the muscles that there is work to be done, without burning too much fuel and without risking injury. After training at much higher volume it is natural for our mind to insist we ought to be doing more.