Taper Insanity...

This is the part before the marathon that they warn you about... the part where you're ready to lose your mind.

Ironically, you don't feel like a runner, because feeling like a runner means something usually hurts and something is stiff, but because you're in the taper your legs have none of that. An optimist would say, "I feel fresh," but since you're in the taper you're convinced all of our fitness has disappeared like a bag of Doritos that gets left on the lunchroom table.

Last night, I ran three miles. Just three miles. My wife said, "That's strange," and I said, "What's strange?" She said, "You're a marathoner. You should be doing workouts I can't do. I run three miles." This isn't the greatest thing to say to a runner five days before the marathon.

This, of course, led me to go through the stack of running books on the bed-stand to verify that I had read things correctly - that doing three miles for a recovery run five days before the marathon makes sense and wouldn't ruin my plans and that being fresher is - if anything - better than being too tired. So then I slept. Fitfully.

And now I'm heading out for my last marathon pace run of my program, if for no other reason than to prove I still can.


  1. Hey, I just noticed that you left a post on my page. Thanks a lot for the good luck wishes and same to you! What kind of time are you shooting for? I'm pretty new at this marathon thing (this will be my third) so I still don't know anywhere close to everything there is to know. So I was surprised when you said that your nutrition plan was to take a gel every four miles. Is this pretty typical? In my other two, I've done more like every seven or something, only for the reason of getting one in pretty much every 45 minutes-1 hour. Is it good to do it more often since it's such a demanding day, or is it more along the lines of personal preference? Also, I noticed that you're a type 1 diabetic; how much does this come into play for you with working out your nutrition plan? Hope to hear from you or see you at the race, but if not, best of luck to you.

  2. Good question about the gels...
    For my last marathon, I was training to take them every six miles, however during this training cycle I was taking them every five, but still having low blood sugar episodes. THAT's the only reason I'm going to every four. So yes - the diabetes figures prominently into the nutrition plan.

    However, there is more recent research to indicate that - if your stomach can handle it - more is better: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-301--12826-0,00.html

    "That means you should start taking in carbs between 30 and 60 minutes into your workout or race, depending on the intensity of your run. Dikos, who ran in this year's Women's Olympic Marathon Trials, starts drinking a carb-rich sports drink about 40 minutes into a marathon. You should then continue fueling in frequent, small doses. The ideal is 100 to 250 calories (or 25 to 60 grams of carbs) per hour, after the first hour of running, says Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., author of Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners. That's the equivalent of one to 2 1/2 sports gels or 16 to 40 ounces of sports drink per hour."

    In my case, I'll be having roughly 54 g. per hour - on the high end of the range, but within the range, assuming I hit my goal, which was your first question. :)

    I'm going out at 7:15 pace, holding it until the wheels off of, and hoping to be done by 3:11 (7:18 pace). Bare minimum, I want sub- 3:16 to qualify for Boston.

    And actually, you're on up on me, as this will only be my second marathon. See you there!

  3. Anonymous12:02 PM

    Best wishes for a terrific race day, Marcus. You will make it through the taper with your sanity intact.

  4. Have a great race tomorrow!


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