The Forum, Published April 08 2014
Getting in gear: Starting the final month’s taper toward race day
“People make the mistake of thinking that they haven’t trained hard enough. So they try to recapture those lost miles by going hard the next four weeks and that’s not a good idea,” says Mark Knutson, executive director of the Fargo Marathon.
In this week’s video, Knutson tells “Getting in Gear” runner Erin Mayer the final month before a race is absolutely the most critical. He says instead of ramping up, runners should start thinking about tapering down their training. He says miles run during training will peak around three weeks from race day, then slowly decrease from there.
For example, fellow “Getting in Gear” runner Josh Thomas’ half-marathon training plan calls for him to run a total of 26 miles the week of April 21 and just 20 miles the following week. Mayer’s 10K plan calls for her to max out at 19 miles the week of April 27, followed by just 7 miles the week leading up to the run.
Knutson says it’s all about making sure you’re just getting to the start line.
“You have to trust that you’ve done what you’ve needed to do these last few months. Pushing it hard the last couple of weeks isn’t what you should be doing,” he says.
As for what to eat, Knutson says just maintain your normal diet, concentrating on good food that fuels your body.
Knutson will have more information about “taper week” on April 30. Next week, Mayer and Thomas get advice from experienced runners and learn their tricks for making it through a race.
For more advice and training plans for the race go to the Getting in Gear blog at gettingingear.areavoices.com.