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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 ;)