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Marathon Training – Last Month Taper

For anyone training for their very first marathon, I am right there with ya. Everything is an experiment…what pace should I start out at? How often should I fuel? How often should I drink water? What should I eat the night before? How will I recover? It’s all a big learning experience and I have to be confident that my body is in good enough shape for whatever I throw its way!

Two weeks ago, my long run was 21 miles which I covered in about 2 hours 40 minutes. At the end of the 21 miles, my legs were pretty trashed and the next day I was sore to walk. Now that the longest long run is over, HERE COMES THE TAPER :)

Tapering for a marathon (’s long run was a mere 12 miles….insignificant after weeks of building from 12 to 14 to 17 to 21 miles. I feel like I should be running MORE MORE MORE. As much as I can! Build up the mileage to get ready for the race! But every training program I’ve read says NO. That is a huge mistake. Your body has put in the work, you need to trust that you will not lose your strength & speed, and now is the time to pull back and let your body “recover.”

Apparently feeling anxious during the tapering period (roughly three weeks leading up to race day) is pretty common for marathoners. I felt reassured after reading this article from Runner’s World: It’s Taper Time. I love the part that said the easy runs during the 6 days before the marathon are more for your “head than your body.” Some of my other favorite take-aways:

  • The last week is about feeling CONFIDENT
  • During the end of the taper, you can’t “underdo” – you can only overdo.
  • Nutrition and getting in carbs & fluids is extremely important; don’t look at the scale (don’t worry, I won’t!!)

This period worries me. Reducing mileage translates to one thing for me: weight gain. When I was running 80 miles a week I didn’t need to worry about the ice cream, peanut butter and lattes that I would treat myself to. Once I was injured at school, I had zero physical activity for a few weeks and gained a few pounds. My problem? I have an appetite and love for food that requires 60 minutes minimum of cardio a day to off-set ;)

Banana Split Farrell's Trough

So I tell myself: Trust the taper, follow the plan, have a successful marathon and worry about the number on the scale after the race is over.

With all kinds of extra time as my workout schedule decreases I can focus on getting back to into school mode, making new healthy recipes and finding time for other hobbies like photography or blogging!

Only 11 days separate me from my first marathon. The latest song in the marathon training playlist rotation is… dun dun dunnnnn………

Take It Out On Me by Florida-Georgia Line.

I love country music. When I run I listen to pop, alternative and sometimes hip-hop because it’s got a better beat and more energy to go with exercise. But sometimes country songs are just as motivating and I love this song by the country boy duo. Even though I can’t really relate to the lyrics, it’s grit really ignites my motivation and I usually find I can pump up the treadmill a couple levels whenever this song pops up on my iPod ;)

Pre-Race Playlist

Wednesday marked the final day of classes for my sophomore year of college, but 30 minutes after my last final exam I was on a charter bus along with 46 of my fellow track and field athletes for our journey to the Big Sky Conference Championships track meet in Portland, Oregon. 16 weeks of training have come down to the final 10,000 meters around the track in an effort to place in the top-8 in the conference and score points for my team toward the championship title!

This year I want to run with my heart instead of my head. I completely fell in love with running years ago; many times the best part of my day is an energizing or serene run/workout. So today I’ve got a playlist that is upbeat-songs-only. I just want to stay in a super positive mood and totally enjoy myself. (We’re deviating from the typical Eminem trend here.)

PreRace Playlist ( tried to keep the country tunes to a minimum ;) Mainly I just like theses songs because they make me want to dance! Race organizers like to schedule the 10k last, so I will be hanging out at the hotel for a few more hours today before heading over to the stadium. To keep my mind off the race I’ve got Pinterest and last night’s Grey’s Anatomy episode. All I need is my cuddly puppy and maybe an iced skinny cinnamon dolce latte.

As our plane descended into Portland, it was easily the GREENEST place I’ve ever seen. For our pre-race shakeout run yesterday afternoon, we left the track in search of a trail but instead ran through an adorable neighborhood that reminded me of Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives. We couldn’t stop admiring the scenery and the beautiful green trees that were so plentiful. At one point we ran along a fence with a field of lavender on the other side – talk about picturesque. I wish I had my camera with me!

Race Recap to come tomorrow :)

*I realized after I initially posted this that I forgot the song “I Lived” by OneRepublic!

Workout Entertainment

Confession: I may have overplayed the  Pitch Perfect soundtrack on my ipod during the last 3 days’ workouts….I may have also watched the movie twice within 24 hours. (Fat Amy is hilarious! The inventor of “horizontal running” ;) )

Back-tracking, my ipod has been my saving grace while jogging this week; I have to listen to music if I am running on the treadmill unless I am at LA Fitness while Sex & the City is playing on E! (which is kind of alot.). Being on winter break means no track team to train with, leading to pretty boring solo runs. Which is why I resort to the treadmill, but honestly time passes by slower on that dang machine. Don’t you feel like you are constantly looking at the clock and only 30 seconds have passed?! I run out of things to think of!

Treadmill days at the gym require an iPod loaded with adrenaline-pumping music to keep me hyped instead of bored!

My Workout Songs of the Moment! (

*Gotta admit that I was super reluctant to put Bieber on the list…..I definitely don’t have Bieber Fever but I do like this song! :P And the music video for Hall of Fame is pretty motivational itself!

Also, I say “of the moment” because I have a tendency to play new songs on repeat and then get sick of them exactly 2.8 weeks later….it’s an ever-changing list : )

In other news: over 4 weeks have passed since my December surgery and I can’t believe it. Feels like I was just walking through Rockefeller Center looking for a Christmas present for my dad. And now we are just 4 days away from the start of Spring Semester! Not complaining though because Missy & I were going a little stir crazy in the house over this past month.

We had plenty of dance parties:

Dance Party with Missy (

But it’s definitely challenging to try to maintain a healthy body when I am restricted from physical activity during recovery! When workouts go from 7 days a week to 0, it’s extra important to adjust diet as well. (Can’t really justify cinnamon coffee cake as ‘carbo-loading’, can I?)

Now I’m excited to get back to normal, with running and strength training and all the usual stuff. There’s still swelling in my face and it’s far from perfect; we aren’t done with surgery just yet. In fact, we have already tentatively planned out our next trip to the New York hospital in a few months. But until then, I have these next 16 weeks to make the most of this track season!

What’s your workout playlist?

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