Experimenting with the taper week: Intervals pre-Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

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So it’s the taper week before the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. I’ve been training and racing a lot this winter and spring, and now it all comes down to actually backing off in the days leading up to the event.

I have a pretty bad history when it comes to planning an actual taper week. Illness trashed my training in the month before the Tulsa Run last fall. And I didn’t back off at all before March’s Snake Run trail race. Both went fine, but I’m sure proper planning and training might have made them go better.

So here I am, healthy and focused. But I’m without decent guidance on how to actually program this week, aside from just backing off my miles. So I did some research and found some information that looked intriguing.

The suggestions: 400-meter intervals all week. More specifically, a half-mile warm up, then intervals is decreasing numbers as the week goes by. The suggested pace was 5K speed.

I customized it a bit. I did my intervals in segments of three city blocks. So this week, it’s going to look like this:

Day 1: Half-mile warm-up, 5 intervals (rest between until you’ve caught your breath), jog back to the gym.

Day 2: Half-mile warm-up, 4 intervals.

Day 3: Half-mile warm-up, 3 intervals.

Day 4: Half-mile warm-up, 2 intervals.

Day 5: Half-mile warm-up, 1 interval.

Day 6: Nothing.

Day 7: Race.

I’ve already done Day 1, so that means Saturday is my “do nothing” day, and Sunday is my race, the half marathon. I’ll keep lifting weights as normal, though my leg day is going to be scaled back.

And obviously, lots of water and carbs at the end of the week. If I end up outperforming what I did at the Snake Run (15.1 miles in 2:55), then we’ll know I had fresh legs and a successful plan. If not, well, at least I learned something.

How do you do your taper weeks? Let me know!

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088

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2 thoughts on “Experimenting with the taper week: Intervals pre-Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

  1. Bob, thanks for posting this. It seems a bit aggressive from my perspective, but I will be curious how you feel race day. We all need to experiment and listen to our bodies. My own experience is have maybe one or two days of pace workout prior to marathon; I want my body/mind to be tuned into the pace early on. Good luck with the race this week-end.

    • Thanks man! So far, so good. Two days of intervals down. I feel fidgety, which means I have energy to burn. But like you, I’m curious how it works. All I know is my past “tapers” have been very poorly planned and executed, so it’s nice to have an actual plan in front of me. Will it work? We’ll see. So far, feelin good.

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