Still, after all you've invested, it's hard not to wonder if the taper schedule you've chosen will help those big miles payoff like they should. Should you go with a long or short taper? How about a fast or slow taper? Or any combination thereof?
It’s hard to know really, and as with most things running, it usually comes down to seeing what works best for you. We at Run Junkie tend to be partial to a classic three week marathon taper touted by the likes of famed coach Peter Pfitzinger (link), but with a twist – speed. Instead of plodding along at sub-marathon pace in those final weeks, we’ve taken to heart some compelling study results (link) showing that cutting way back on distance and adding some simple 500 meter repeats can really boost performance on race day. And, to be honest, it’s nice to stretch one’s legs a bit after all those long, slow miles.
Coming at things from a different angle was a recent Runner’s World story (link) pushing a short, two week taper that finishes up with a pretty long run just a week before race day. The reasoning is that most marathon runners these days follow training schedules with relatively low-mileage weeks, and they don’t need the recovery time implicit in longer, classic tapers developed for big mileage runners. Though, we’ve talked with runners who’ve had some success with this approach, we still think the jury’s out on this one.
Check things out for yourself and let us know what works best for you.
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