The Anti-Taper

Alright stop… hammer taper time.

I’m usually a big fan of the taper… the practice of reducing exercise in the days leading up to an important race, to increase optimal peformance. Before a marathon, I usually taper for 2-3 weeks, and only participate in shorter, easy runs so that I arrive with fresh legs on race day.

But, having completed 1 road marathon and 2 ultramarathons in the last 10 weeks, I feel like I have done nothing but taper for the last 3 months.

Taper… Race… Recover… Taper… Race… Recover… Taper… Race… Recover…

Because of this, my average weekly mileage has dropped significantly, and I am aching to start racking up the kilometres again.  Having done Wild Endurance (50km) 13 days ago and recovered well, and with the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon happening in 2days time. I should be tapering again. Should be. But I’m not.

I’ve decided to throw all chance of running a PB out the window, and try something new: The anti-taper.

Instead of cutting back, I’ve decided to run 100+ km this week. 6 days and overr 100km down, and I’m feeling good. Last time I ran this much in one week was back in January. Then, my muscles were so tight and sore from all of the running My calves were as hard as rocks, and I had to have physio twice a week to loosen them up. I also spent at least half an hour per day on the foam roller. This time around, I feel a lot better. My legs feel a little heavy, but I don’t have any soreness or stiffness.

This is what my week has looked like so far:

Sunday: 25.17km with the girls around the beaches

Monday: 15.33km solo

Tuesday: Intervals 10x400m plus warm up and cool down totalling 6.49km in the morning. 10.10km with the regular Tuesday night crowd in the evening

Wednesday: 15.06km (5 slow km solo, 10 fast km with Helen)

Thursday: Intervals 4x800m plus warm up and cool down totalling 6.26km in the morning, 10.45 solo km in the evening

Friday: 12.08km with Kara in the evening

I’ll do Parkrun (5km easy) tomorrow with my dog to ensure I go slow, before the half marathon on Sunday.

I’m very interested to see how I feel come Sunday morning. Now, I certainly do not reccommend this approach, and if i had any pain or soreness I will certainly scale it back. But until then, I’m interested to see how far I can push it. I definetly don’t plan running fast on Sunday. It will be more like a training run. But I will be sure to report back on how it goes. It’s a very difficult race to run fast anyway, because of the sheer volume of participants. So I look forward to enjoying the atmosphere and the course, and seeing how I pull up afterwards. I can’t wait to find out!

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