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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be towing the line of another marathon in 2.5 weeks. Though I know how you taper is as diversed as how you train, I am wondering if I should take a shorter taper (2 weeks) instead of a popular 3 weeks. I DNF my 3rd marathon 5.5 weeks ago due to a horrible calf cramp. I was running well with 3 20milers under my belt and peaked just over 50mpw. (following Pfitz' 55mpw 12 wk schedule). Following the race, my volume has been as follows;<br>
7mpw + 5hrs cross training (bike an swim) (couldn't run due to calf/foot issue)<br>
21mpw + 6hrs c/t<br>
32.5mpw + 6 hrs c/t<br>
37mpw + 7hrs c/t<br>
44mpw + 3 hrs c/t<br><br>
As you can see, running volume has been low. My body is not really beaten up. I have been following Pfitz 55mpw/12wk plan loosely during the last few weeks (key workouts only - bike and/or swim for recovery day). For the last two marathons, my taper ended up more drastic than the schedule said due to a cold and trip and yes I did feel I was sluggish.<br><br>
Any advise will be appreciated.<br><br>
Thanks,<br><br>
Yoshiko
 

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If it were me, I'd keep following the Pfitz plan for the taper, at least with the key workouts. It really doesn't ease up much until the last 10 days (after the 1600 repeats?), the long runs don't drop drastically in length, either. I find it gets me to the start line rested but not feeling sluggish or rusty.
 

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Typically the more miles you regularly put in the shorter your taper can be. I would suggest to stick with a 3 week taper in your case.<br><br>
Taper to me means a few less miles and a little less time in quality sessions, not no fast running at all. Your goal is to remain sharp and not lose any fitness, but be well rested.<br><br>
If you really need 3 weeks and do a 2 week taper it will hurt you more than if you really need 3 and do 2 weeks.<br><br>
Just my 2-cents
 

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Here is a piece of an article from Tinman that caught my attention a long time ago. Disclosure: I have used Tinman as an adviser and coach during several periods over last couple years, including past few months.<br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;"><span style="font-size:small;">"Think of tapering as relative to the type and amount of training you have done. If you have pushed the limits of volume and duration of your runs, you will need a longer tapering phase. If you are putting in 100-mile training weeks, your legs might be thrashed after several weeks of it. Therefore, tapering for 3-5 weeks might be necessary for you to race a marathon well. On the other hand, if you choose to be more conservative and run 70-80 miles per week, your legs might be considerably more fresh. In such a case, a long taper will not be necessary at all.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;"><span style="font-size:small;">Your muscle fiber type also determines how long you must taper. People who are naturally endurance oriented and not speedy will need short tapering phases. I have observed that slow twitch runners tend to lose aerobic endurance quickly upon cessation of mileage and suffer greatly in races when they taper too soon and too much. At the other end of the continuum, runners who are speedy tend to retain aerobic endurance more easily, so they can afford to taper longer. Most runners are somewhere in between these two extremes. However, no matter what you do, remember, if you are not tired, sore, and beat up, you don’t need to taper much."</span></span>
 

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Well, that was kind of a overly-techy article, but I agree with the last bit, "<span style="font-family:Verdana;"><span style="font-size:small;">if you are not tired, sore, and beat up, you don’t need to taper much." That's what it's all about, right?</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;"><span style="font-size:small;">If you're coming down with a cold three weeks out, that probably suggests that you weren't quite ready for that peak training level. It's an easy thing to do. I definitely did exactly that before my first, NYC, after being notified late as a second-round lottery winner, and it ended up working out in the end. If you rest as your body is telling you to do, you should show up refreshed and with more in your legs that you think. I ran half an hour faster that day than I expected, even with a bonkalicious finish.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;"><span style="font-size:small;">Can you slow your buildup somewhat? That comeback you "should" have done is a pretty fast return to your peak milage. If you are only doing 3 20s and peaking at 50ish miles, you may simply need a better base going into your peak. You're contemplating a full taper, from which I surmise that these are peak events, races, for you, rather than fun-runs done for the social experience or training. In that case, eight weeks between marathons may just not be enough time. Have a great run in a couple of weeks, try to have fun, but maybe plan your next one four months out, so you can get back to base training before ramping up again.</span></span>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your advice.<br><br>
My calf cramp at the previous marathon occurred mile 15 so it didn't require much time to recover from it (alghouth additional 3 miles I ran while limping/compensating made some damage to my calf/foot). Certainly the second rampup was too quick. I wanted to try one more marathon before building up my bike/swim volume for a tri season. I will find out, in a few weeks, how things play out.
 

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If you are feeling beat up and tired, then take a longer taper. If you are feeling really fresh, then go for a two week taper. Since you say you are not feeling beat up, you might try the two week taper.<br><br>
Victor
 
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