Training — Reflections on a marathon experience

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

I wrote a note to many of my training teams today that I wanted to share with you. The folks receiving this message would be in various stages of their training, but are getting close to being ready to run events this Fall. I hope you’ll find some benefit in the reflections that I shared with them as well:

“This past weekend I ran my first competitive marathon in more than two years and it brought back many memories and sensations that I thought would be good to share with you. Over the past two years, I have in fact run a number of marathons, but bringing back the competitive element has helped me put myself back in your shoes — to the extent that it added back in the pressure and nerves that haven’t been there for awhile.

So, here are a few of the things that I remember feeling that I wanted to share with you:

Tapering is tough — I say it a lot, but that taper period (the part of the season when we wind down our training and recover for the race) is still mentally the toughest part of the season. I had the same sensation that so many of you will talk to me about: you will feel like you have “forgotten how to run”. I recall thinking to myself that I had just run 22 miles 3 weeks before the race and that I had raced 17 1/2 miles two weeks before the race, but I still wondered if it would “come back to me”. Of course it does. The training is there and this is part of the recovery process, but even for a person that has been racing marathons for 20 years I still had this sensation. You will too when we get to the end of the season.
Read more…

Share

Video — Tapering for the Marathon

running-advice-bugIt’s time for Episode 16 in our series and this time we’re at a new location: our backyard pool. No, this one’s not about swimming or cross-training, but we’re talking about recovery for the next couple of weeks. We kick off this section of our discussion talking about tapering for the marathon.

In this episode:
— What’s a taper?
— Does everyone need to taper?
— How long should a taper be?
— What should you do during the taper?
— Was Coach Dean’s year-long taper a good idea?

This video is part of our Desert Series, in which Coaches Joe English and Dean Hebert get their lips smackin’ about all things marathon running. There are over 30 episodes in the series and they come out every week on www.running-advice.com.

To watch the video, just click the play button in the video window below.

There’s much more coming. We’ve filmed over 30 episodes in this series and we’ll be rolling them out each week. To visit our video page with links to all of the episodes in the series, click here.

Running Advice and News
www.running-advice.com

Share

Training: Understanding the taper; peaking for your next big race

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

Many runners are in the last few weeks of their preparation for their Fall marathons right now, so we’ve started to see an uptick of questions about tapering. Everyone has heard the word “taper”, but they want to better understand how to do it and why they should do it. As I looked around the site, I found that this is a subject that I hadn’t spent much time discussing, so here’s a new article aimed at understanding tapering.

Tapering: The Art and Science of Peaking

Tapering: The Art and Science of Peaking

In the run-up to a major event, everyone wants the same thing: to come into the event well rested, focused and ready to perform well. The final stage of a well structured training program will include a phase that is designed to help do those things. This phase of the program is sometimes called “tapering”, but can also be called “peaking”, which is a more informational name for what’s actually happening in this phase of training.

The word taper means “to cut back” or “to narrow” if you were to look it up in the dictionary. One aspect of the final phase of athletic race preparation is indeed to cut back the volume of training to allow the body to recover. But that’s only half of the story. If an athlete simply cuts back on their training for awhile, they risk losing hard gained fitness at the same time.

Instead, what we want to happen is to “peak” or come up to a new a level of performance. So how does one reach a new peak by backing off of their training volume? It happens by combining the recovery of the taper with the continuation of shorter, quicker, and perhaps more intense workouts to maintain fitness in those final days or weeks.

Tapering
Tapering seems like the easiest part of the marathon preparation process — and it would be if one’s job in that period was to just laze around and wait for race day to come.
Read more…

Share