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March 24, 2013 / jessicamcelroy

Taper time

On Sunday I’ll be running my first-ever half marathon at the Oakland Running Festival! Surprisingly, I’ve been even more neurotic about my taper week than any previous week of training.

Since I haven’t been following any particular training schedule (rather a mishmash of my running group’s plan, a Runkeeper plan, and whatever I felt like each day) I wasn’t sure exactly how much is considered optimal for someone of my level to run during taper week.

Finally I decided to air on the side of less. Since I went up to 16 miles for my longest long run, which is even more than most half marathon training plans call for,  I figured it wouldn’t hurt to let my legs rest a little more in the final week so I can arrive at the starting line feeling fresh.

I found justification in running blogs, like this one which repeats a common saying about race prep: “There’s nothing you can do in the week before a race to help yourself. You can only do things that hurt yourself.”

Ironically, choosing to run less and give your legs the rest they need the week before a race takes a lot of self-discipline! As Jeff Gaudette (the running coach who designed most of the training plans on Runkeeper) advises: by taper week all your hard work and training is “in the barn.” You have to trust that all the hard work you’ve done in the previous weeks has prepared you.

So, without further ado, this is what this week’s run schedule looked like for me:

Sunday: 10 miles, last “long” run before the taper

Tuesday: 4.6 miles at half-marathon goal pace (just under 9 minutes)

Thursday: 3 miles

Saturday: 15 minute “shakeout” run

Sunday (tomorrow): Race Day!

I kept seeing Oakland Running Festival signs around where I work in downtown. Makes me so incredibly excited for the race!

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