I Admit, I’m Not Tapering….

….And I’m freaking out about it now! I know what tapering is, I know what it looks like and I’ll be honest, I’ve never done it. For my first half marathon, which I ran 8 years ago {yikes} I only remember running 19k as my longest run. I followed a training plan but I couldn’t tell you what it was or how often I stuck to it.

Anyway…..I’m more focused this time around and enjoying it. I’ve had some bad weeks and some amazing weeks but my training plan doesn’t have me tapering. That freaks me out… A LOT!



Unless you’re a newbie to my blog, you can’t miss it. I’ve been blogging non-stop about my half marathon training for 10 friggin’ weeks. I’ve been following Hal Higdon’s Intermediate training plan pretty religiously with a few misses here and there.

Why I am freaking out? Well, you see….I’ve had people commenting {which I LOVE} in various forms of social media attached to this blog. They have been commenting “you must be getting close to tapering”, it’s taper time, you are NOT tapering, you have to taper!!!! That’s what’s freaking me out.

I really want to follow my plan which has me running 19k this weekend as my long run. My half is the weekend after that.

The focus is on the last two (unchecked) weeks:

Last Two Weeks

Last Two Weeks

Week #12 kinda looks like a taper…right?

I’ve probably gone into overkill about it with my husband. Sorry about that one, Sai. I’ve even asked my running buddy/coach and she gave me some good advice: change-up the long run to mid-week so you have more recovery time. She also told me that I have a good base under my belt, to rest and even gave me a new 2 week out training plan to follow.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to break any world records during this half. Heck, I won’t place top 10, 20 or 30 in this half marathon. I will however, be running at a different pace then my first half eight years ago with a lot of mileage under my belt.

Hal – I almost wrote you yesterday to ask you what I should do!

Okay, let’s be honest Piper….I wrote Hal a Facebook message. I did, I did! Is that even a proper thing to do; Facebook Hal Higdon because you don’t know if you should taper. Oh man…what have I done! It will be even better if he replies!

Then, Hal posted this on Facebook….

TIP OF THE DAY: An important part of every runner’s training is rest. Running a short distance at a slow period would qualify as rest. A day where you cross-trained by swimming or cycling also might qualify as rest. But sometimes active rest is not enough; you need to take a day off when you do not run, or do much of anything. Although I promote consistency as critical to success, there are times when you simply have to kick back and do nothing. And I mean nothing! Take a week off. Take a couple of weeks off. Yes, you will lose some fitness, but you will more than make up for it if you return to training refreshed and ready to run hard again. Rest is often best.

So, do I just rest for the next two weeks? Ha ha, kidding, I won’t do that 😉 I am going to enjoy my rest days in the following two weeks. However, I’m no closer in decided if I will do my 19k long run this weekend or pretend I am tapering and just run for the fun of it.


I still can’t believe I just messaged him on Facebook…….oh my!

Do you ALWAYS taper ?

Do you stick to your training plan 2 weeks out ?

Should I just run the 19k this weekend and go with it?

Give me some advice, please and thank you 🙂

So glad I didn’t schedule this post….he wrote back. Well, someone wrote back – update tomorrow 🙂

22 thoughts on “I Admit, I’m Not Tapering….

  1. Before my first half I ran the full 21.1 km the week before because I wanted to know I could do it. Mentally it was great preparation as it boosted my confidence and calmed my nerves. My second half I ran once in the three weeks before the race, I only added 40 seconds to my time. My third and most recent race my longer runs were only 12-13 km and I took almost three minutes off my time. I know that the physical preparation is only one part of the preparation, mental prep is more important. I follow your blog and have followed your training, I would suggest only doing the 19k run if you feel it’s necessary but I would still move it to this week. Relax, rest and let the excitement build. You will rock it.

    • I’m not worried about doing the distance (21.1) but I’m more worried about the recovery and why people are telling me I should be tapering when my training plan doesn’t have me tapering. However, I’m feeling a lot better after this post and talking to my new buddy “Hal” about my long run this weekend. 😉

  2. I do a rather abbreviated taper. I try to do things that will give me confidence the week before without overdoing it with my legs and general body–so not as much strength, easier paces, and then I generally take a certain amount off of what I would usually do (like, today I did 6 instead of my regular 8). I change my eating habits a little bit, try to get good rest, and just generally take better care of myself!

    • In looking at my training plan…I’m doing an abbreviated taper just the week before my half and I’m feeling good about that (at least I am now, might be a different story next week). Would love to hear how you change your eating habits…what do you do? Rest/sleep is up there for me these next two weeks!

  3. We are all different beasts… but if I ran 19km a week before my race I wouldn’t be able to do it… too much for me… I would only run half that amount. You have to do what is best for your own head and body.

  4. I am so interested to hear Hal’s response! I was actually going to suggest you message him. Everyone is different … I am very sensitive to overuse and I’m pretty weak so not having a taper would be too hard on me, but it might be perfectly fine for you. Do what feels best!

  5. I’m with SingleTracked. I don’t think a half needs a serious taper. Do what your body feels like and what gives you confidence. I’m running the Chicago Marathon in less than two weeks but since I’m not racing and am just running the course as a coach I am not really tapering. Yeah I ran 50 miles last week and my body is tired. Probably not smart but I hate the taper and I’m definitely not looking for a PR :). Enjoy your non-taper.

    • I think running the 19k would give me just a little more confidence…heck, I know I can do it and I know I have the juice left in my legs after my last two 18k long runs to do more (so that’s positive). My goal for my race is to run comfortably at my current pace (5:50 – 6:10) and push it towards the end and see how I can do.
      thanks 🙂

  6. If you would have asked me when I was training for half-marathons if I needed a taper, I would have said yes!! However I have learned that a lot of soreness and fatigue stems from your mind. After my half-marathons I was always so sore and would need so much recovery time, but now that I am 3 weeks from my first marathon, I learned to run a minimum of 13.1 miles week after week and the time I needed to recover from those long runs shortened. From my half-marathon experiences, I would suggest just moving your 12 mile run to the weekend of your 11 mile run and the weekend before your race just do an easy 8 or 9 miles. Good luck with your race! 🙂

  7. Yes I will taper if it’s an important race. I’ve been known to race sunday morning and still get in other workouts saturday and sunday afternoon, but for the big dogs I will taper. You want to hit that starting line feeling fresh, rested, and ready to explode. For a half mary, to me, that means taking about 2 or 3 days off before the race.

  8. If I’m hoping to PR I’ll do a mini-taper for a half marathon. But all that means I would do a 15K instead of your scheduled 19K and keep everything else the same. But everyone is different so listen to your body. I’m currently tapering for my first marathon and contrary to every other runner I’m actually enjoying the down time and decrease in mileage.

  9. I think it really depends on your body. If you can recover well, then go for the 12, if not then just do 6 this weekend. If you have hefty race goals it’s best to let your body heal, so just for 6. Saturday will be the first time I do a 12 miler in my half marathon training and the following weekend I have 6 and then the next weekend is the race. If you take it slow you should be fine, but it’s really honestly up to you knowing your body and your goals. I need a taper to feel my best before a half, but could probably pull it off fine without one.

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