Monday, November 5, 2012

JFK Taper: I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

I have not been using a training plan for JFK and most weeks have been made up on the spot. So far so good, until taper that is. Building up mileage is one thing, but figuring out how best to taper yourself so that 1) you haven't completely lost your endruance by race day and 2) you're raring to race and feel refreshed by race day - this is tough.

I started looking up training plans, reading books, stalking other bloggers, all in search of some sort of taper system that matches the rest of my training cycle. In the end I think I decided to do the following:

Week 1: Cut peak mileage by 30% = ~52 miles
Week 2: Cut week 1's mileage by 20% = ~41 miles
Week 3: Keep weekly mileage at 12 miles or less before race day

Now having completed week one I pretty much stuck with the plan. I ended up with 53.3 miles. Oops, a little over. I ran 10 trail miles on Saturday (terrifying by the way) and 15 regular old road miles on Sunday.

Every "training race" I had signed up for October actually had a direct connection to some part of the JFK course. The Baltimore Marathon was my rolling road hills (aka the last ~8 miles of JFK). The Delaware Canal 20-Miler was my monotonous long canal run (aka the middle ~26 miles of JFK on the C&O). And the FOTM 50k was supposed to be my trail practice (aka the first ~15 miles of JFK on the AT). Of course the one race I end up bailing on is the one I probably needed the most. I really want to love trails, but they just really don't love me.

I decided I needed to hit the trails at least once before JFK. I think the last time I ran them was July. Really not good considering 30% of JFK is trail terrain. It was weird to be back and they looked so different from the summer.

Yellow Trail - November

Yellow Trail - May
I had a terribly hard time navigating over slippery leaves and hidden rocks. I almost tripped twice and it freaked me out so much that I needed to pull over to the side of the trail and calm myself down (not surprising considering my recent history with tripping during a run - and that was on sidewalk!). All in all it was a good run, but I think I need to go back once more before race day. Otherwise I fear I will be complete basketcase on the AT.

I treated this week more like a cutback week and not a taper week. The next two weeks is where the taper will really heat up. I'm already sad that I'm only going to run around 40 miles this week. Hopefully that means at 7 am on November 17th I will be so siked to run that 50 miles will just fly right by (HA!).


  1. Well dammit I typed a long comment on my phone this morning and it didn't go through. It was something about how your taper was way more mathematical and therefore better than mine. Also I'm psyched to be only running 40 miles again this week. I am definitely copying your pre-race week plan, for the above listed reasons.

  2. OH I remember I also said that trail sounded like great JFK practice and at least we get the AT trail part over with while we're fresh! Then the canal will seem exciting and wonderful in comparison!


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