Author Topic: What's your taper like?  (Read 1271 times)

James Carlson

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What's your taper like?
« on: August 09, 2016, 04:59:16 pm »
A little more than a week and a half till the Ascent and Marathon, and I'm interested in what everyone does for their taper.

Me, I signed up on a whim for my first Ascent, then proceeded to slack through the spring and have been training only for the last seven weeks. But I did get to the top of the mountain each of those weeks. Without much training, I'm not cutting back as much as I normally would. You can't taper from nothing, right? I did the full Ascent yesterday, 12 days before my race. (Six minutes faster than my goal race time, to boot. Guess I need a new goal!) And I might do the top half of the course this Saturday. (Too much? I worry about losing the gains I earned from the last 7 weeks of altitude.) Other than that, I'm getting a massage later this week, and I'll do some very short powerhike/jogs on the treadmill just to keep my legs moving.

What about everyone else?

Mitch Walma

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Re: What's your taper like?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2016, 09:20:18 pm »
I up and got sick this weekend no breathing equals no running. Does that count? I'll probably do a bunch of short runs and maybe an easy run on the NW Slopes this weekend.

pmcgrath

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Re: What's your taper like?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2016, 11:26:45 am »
I would recommend more rest.  Doing the full Ascent 12 days out is pretty intense.  I don't have a lot of Ascent experience to draw on, so I don't know what a perfect taper is.  I had a good race in 2014 with more tapering, and a terrible race last year where I didn't do enough tapering.  This year, I'm trying to make sure I don't overdo it again, and I feel really good right now.  Three weeks out (July 31st), I did the entire course from Memorial Park to the summit.  This past Sunday, I ran from Memorial Park to the Bottomless Pit sign.  Saturday my plan is to run to Barr Camp.  I am still doing an intense midweek hill workout every week, but with less distance/time.  Other than that, I have been cutting my easy runs back quite a bit to reduce my total volume.

I wouldn't worry about losing the altitude gains from the last 7 weeks.  From what I understand, you do not really gain anything by spending a couple of hours working out at high altitude.  Whatever you do gain from it, you lose very quickly.  I don't want to upset the people who like to do 3-2-1's, but from an acclimatization perspective, I think running above treeline is a waste of time.  I think there are benefits to spending time above treeline, but having more red blood cells on race day is not one of them.

Yoni Fridman

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Re: What's your taper like?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2016, 02:26:17 pm »
Agree with what pcmgrath said about doing less distance and more resting from here on out.

Curious though why you feel altitude doesn't help much. I've heard both sides and am not sure what to believe. So I still do 3-2-1's (and am not offended at all by your comments :) ), because I figure at worst it's not hurting. Just trying to decide if I'm wasting my time... I am getting a little sick of driving up and down that road. So if you have useful info on that, I'd love to hear it!

pmcgrath

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Re: What's your taper like?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2016, 05:03:25 pm »
Yoni, I don't have any definitive answers.  I've just googled in the past stuff like "how long does it take to acclimate" or "how long do acclimatization effects last".  Most of what I found suggests that you have to spend more than a few hours at altitude to gain any benefits.  It seems like the good news is that if you do spend enough time at altitude to gain any benefits (i.e red blood cells), they last for 1-2 months. Here is one article in particular that is helpful:

http://www.bodyresults.com/e2deacc.asp:

I definitely agree with you that it doesn't hurt to do the 3-2-1's, and I think it's great to run up there and get to know the trail.  I also think it helps to know how you personally handle the altitude.  I just don't think it benefits you as far as acclimating to 14,000 feet when race day comes, unless you spend a lot more time up there (like camping for several days close to the race). 

This is just my opinion based on what I've read, and we all know that the internet is not exactly the greatest place to get reliable data.  If other people have useful info, I'd definitely like to hear it.

Yoni Fridman

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Re: What's your taper like?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2016, 07:43:15 pm »
Appreciate the article and the thoughts! I see your point that just being up there for a couple hours likely doesn't do a whole lot. I know the first time I run up high on Pikes each summer I usually feel worse than on subsequent runs above treeline, but everyone is different.

You make good points for anyone else reading that getting at least a little time at the top of the trail is helpful for knowing the trail, practicing your footing, feeling how your body reacts to that altitude, etc.

Regarding the initial question of tapering (sorry to get off topic)... I usually like doing my last long run (12-15 miles) about 2 weeks out for the Ascent. I agree that closer than maybe 12-14 days before the race, a long run may hurt more than it helps -- having really fresh legs on race day is huge. If I'm doing the Marathon or have been training longer distances, I might do my last long run (20+ miles) more like 2.5-3 weeks out. This year I'm training for the Marathon, so I did 22 miles on Pikes 3 weeks out (Elk Park to the summit and back), then 12 miles 2 weeks out (a 3-2-1). I did the Incline today and will do it again this Friday. (I do the Incline regularly, so I consider that an intense but "short" workout.) I'll probably do a short & easy run early next week, then completely rest for the last 5 days or so. If I was doing Ascent instead of Marathon, I'd probably fully rest only the last 3 days or so rather than 5.