Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 Badwater Training : Training Update

It has been over a week since my last post, which could mean any one (or more) of a plethora of things.

(A) It has been busy at work and there just isn't enough time to post.
(B) Training is going so poorly that it is almost embarrassing to post.
(C) Spent too much time following Western States this weekend.
(D) My computer melted away in the sauna.
(E) I melted away in the sauna.
(F) I am still in the sauna and can't get out.
(G) Laziness.

Let's go with (G), laziness, yeah, that's it, laziness.  Actually, training is going very, very well, and as I enter the two week taper period before Badwater, I feel as if I am as ready as I can  be for this race.  Steve Tursi joined us on Saturday for what has become a weekly trek up and down Bear Mountain, and he was awesome.  I was very impress and proud of his second climb up the mountain, running every step of the 4.3 miles and 1,300 feet of elevation gain.
So, what does it mean to taper ?  We posted a bit on it in August of last year.  Here's a few excerpts from that post .....

Taper -
  • "To become smaller or thinner toward one end."
  • "To reduce gradually."
  • "Gradual decrease of force, capacity, etc..."
  • "to cease by degrees; decrease; diminish."
Many people get confused when it comes to "tapering" for a runner. In simple terms, it is the gradual decrease of training intensity, duration and miles as you inch closer and closer to the day of the race. The taper period usually begins in the last few weeks before the race (the taper period typically lasts between 2 and 3 weeks). The taper period is a time for the runner to allow the body to recover and repair from the intense period of training, before it is faced with the rigors of race day. It is not a time to cease all training, kick back, and drink beer in front of the television. But, it is a period that should see a reduction in a runner's training regimen.

There are, of course, different theories and ideas about the correct way to "taper" before a race, and, I suppose that each runner's taper will be (or can be) different from the next. In scouring the web for articles on "tapering", I came across a few tips or suggestions that might be useful (most are geared toward the marathon distance and average runner).

Run Long....NOT - Although the length of the taper can (and should) differ depending on the length of the race, the final "long" run should occur no less than 14 days before the race. If you have missed some of your scheduled long runs during training, do not use the taper period to try to catch up - it is simply too late to make up for it now. Any run greater than 15 miles during the taper period for a marathon will most likely hurt performance on race day.

Mileage....Cut It Back - Total weekly mileage should decrease by about 40 percent starting two weeks prior to the race. Race week should see a reduction in overall mileage by at least 60 percent. So, if your weekly training mileage hit a peak of 60 miles, run no more than 36 miles the week before race week, and no more than 25 miles during race week. For those training for a marathon, do not run longer than three miles during the last 4 days prior to the race. Don’t worry about mileage during race week as race day will make up for it.

Intensity....Maintain It - Even though we are cutting back on total mileage, it is still o.k. to maintain the level of intensity.

Hills....Have No Place During Race Week - So, you did all your hill repeats and hill running during your main training period. During race week, avoid the hills and let your legs recover and get rested for the big day.

Diet....Watch It - The taper period bring a reduction in training mileage and intensity, and with that it is to see again in weight as the body's muscles start to stockpile the glycogen they will need during the race. But, be careful not to gain too much weight as it could make you feel heavy and sluggish. Eat a bit less than usual, with well-balanced meals, and don’t start any fad diets.

Carbo Loading....Doesn't Mean Overloading - On the eve before the race, eat a regular sized meal with a higher percentage of carbohydrates than usual. On race morning, top yourself off with a small meal (like a bagel, banana, or oatmeal) but do not fill yourself up.

"The trick with tapering your workouts is how to balance the need for rest and recovery with the inevitable detraining effect. There is certainly no single answer. Variables include training intensity, volume, frequency, base level of fitness, and the given event (different taper plans are needed for a 5k, marathon, etc...Tapering may still largely be a matter of guesswork and experience with each runner working it out for himself/herself. The absolute bottom line to remember is that training intensely right up to the time of a race is a mistake. Optimize the performance your hard work and training can give you by tapering up to your race day."


  1. I figured you were still in the sauna :)

  2. All right Tony...good to hear from you! Sounds like you are ready for Death Valley and probably sick of the sauna by now! I also spent a good time watching WS100 on their webcast now I am looking forward to watching the Badwater webcast in less than two weeks. Taper well my friend and we'll talk to you soon! Yassine

  3. You are absolutely right! I still haven't gotten the taper thing down completely. It seems like I try it different every time. I've got to get it straight. Thanks for putting this information out here for me. ;)

  4. Hi Tony,

    2 weeks--so technically that's less than 14 days left in the sauna (depending on when you leave). I kind of get withdraw when I am not in it! Can't wait to get this party started! See you soon! Taper time!

  5. Thanks for the Props, Tony. Any plans to hit rockies this 3-day weekend? I might join you for a taper run if you're going.


  6. Lazy is not a word I would use to describe you. LOL. I am so excited for you and have been dreaming of Death valley for the past few days. Wish I were there.