taper time

Eleven days until race day.

Which means it’s taper time! I went for an easy 4 miles today in spirit of many upcoming non-runs. Yay.

Typically, taper training begins about 3 weeks before race day. But since I had a more…condensed (read: frantic) … training plan, I’m going for 2 weeks. Cutting back is really difficult for me after many weeks of training, and I know other marathoners feel the same way. It’s the strangest concept: less running makes you a better runner?

That’s what I’ve always heard, but it’s hard to find a more in-depth explanation of why tapering is good for you. This article explains everything quite nicely, though. Some key points:

  • Typical taper should include a cutback by roughly 30% in mileage — maybe even more the week before the race
  • Tapering increases “muscle power” (muscle power = ability to generate force) and replenishes glycogen stores (glycogen = energy stores)
  • Cross training should be factored into your taper period (i.e., don’t substitute cross training for running, and think you’re tapering)
  • Increase hydration and increase carb intake during your taper period — especially the last week or so.

I try to keep these bullets in mind when I’m tapering, and remember that I’m doing my body a favor by letting it prep for the big day! It’s just so unusual to suddenly get more sleep and have more free time. This quote from the article is hilarious/sad:

“Runners struggle more psychologically in the tapering period than they do physically. To add to this, a side effect of decreased running is that you are left with a significant amount of free time…Consider looking at areas of your life that may have become neglected during training. Some ideas include spending time with friends or family, learn some new recipes (especially during the final stage when carbo loading), catch up on work, listen to music, read a book…”

I would hope that I would never neglect my friends, family, or work during training! Ha.

Anyways, shorter runs mean new simple routes around my ‘hood. Today I circled through Dupont. This circle is wonderful for sitting in, but the traffic makes it a bit more difficult to run around. Which means I got stopped at a red light RIGHT next to this wildly tempting sight:Do donuts count as carb loading? Something I’ve neglected during training? I should have bought a dozen but they would have been difficult to run back home with. Next time. Also, I’m perplexed by the Krispy Kreme HOT sign in Dupont. It is always on. As far as I know, they should only turn the sign on when the donuts are actually hot. If anyone has any insight into this situation please let me know.

And now, introducing a new part of my blog: QUESTION TIME! I want to hear more from you guys so I’m leaving you with some very introspective queries.

  • Which is better: Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreme? (I personally vote KK for donuts, but Dunkin’ for coffee)
  • Did you run today?
  • Have you ever had to taper for a race? What was it like?


  1. Frank

    The doughnuts can easily be made hot all day. You didn’t think to consult me and my past work in the breakfast pastry industry prior to posting?

  2. FRD

    If the KK are truly hot, and just out of the oil when u get them, then they are better than DD. HOWEVER, they r usually smaller than DD and once the glaze sets up for a few hours I would say that DD is better. DD has a better overall selection, especially in the fluffy filled and coconut categories. I have put years of research into this topic and am glad to share the results with you and your followers.

  3. I guess this is something else I really need to factor in while training for my marathon: the tapering. It will do a (my) body good. And DD trumps. KK does not carry a bavarian cream donut. And do not get me started; boston cream is no substitute..

  4. Diane

    Krispy Kreme hands down better than Dunkin’ Donuts every time….but “doughies” are the best of all time, by the lake house! As for the running…..well, I did do some running around, aka errands and lastly, the tapering thing….yes I have been tapering for decades now and it is far better to taper than to run! I love reading your blogs almost as much as I love you!

  5. Pingback: weekend « minutes per mile

  6. Pingback: keeping it short | minutes per mile

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