100K UltraMarathon Taper

This was the second week of my 100k taper.  This is definitely the longest taper I’ve ever programmed, but I think it will pay off on race day.  It was definitely a weird week between Christmas and New Years.  I worked Monday through Wednesday, and then had Thursday and Friday off for the holiday.  Work was way more hectic than usual, so I was EXTREMELY excited to have a long weekend to look forward to.

On Thursday, I slept in a little later than usual, and went to CrossFit in the morning. I had planned on trying to get in a run later in the day, but the weather was gross, and my husband had to work for a few hours. So I couldn’t take my kid on his bike. When my husband got back home, we packed up and headed out to my dad’s house in the hill country. On the way out there, we ran into a rare sight; snow in Texas. It was so incredible to see it falling, even if it didn’t stick around.

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We hung out and popped fireworks at my dad’s after dinner, and played BattleShip for a couple of hours. We woke up and had breakfast with my dad on Friday, and then drove back home. It was a short visit, but it was really nice seeing him after not being able to spend much time with him over this past year.

Related Post: Training for an UltraMarathon in a Pandemic

Saturday, I woke up and met up with my running group for my last pre-race double digit run. It was a gorgeous day, and the run was fast and painless. Saturday evening, we met up with a girlfriend who was in town with her family for dinner. The boys got to play on a playground while we had a few beers and got to catch up and talk about my race plans for next weekend.

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Overall, a week that was a good mix of time with friends, family, and a little relaxing.

100K UltraMarathon Taper Plan

Typically, I take a ten to fourteen day taper before a race.  But for a race over 50 miles, I think there are some much needed adjustments.  For a 100K race, taking a longer but more gradual approach can have a few benefits.  Training for a long ultramarathon generally means higher weekly mileage throughout the training plan.  Dropping mileage significantly enough would mean a sudden decrease for a short taper, and this can be a bit of a shock to the system.  The last thing you want immediately before a race is to shock your system.  So adding an extra week of time can help your body adjust to lower mileage, soak up some extra rest, and feel fresh before the race. 

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Week 1: The first week of a 100k taper should involve a slight decrease in weekly mileage, while maintaining a fairly moderate intensity. I aim to reduce mileage about 15%, and bring my two double digit runs down to 10 miles during the week and cut about 8-10 miles from my longest long run. The decrease in mileage is enough to give me a little more rest and recovery time, without leaving me feeling I’m going through running withdrawals. I also keep one workout programmed, just to keep some amount of turnover in my legs. I use my long run as a hill workout to get in the last little bit of muscle adaptation that I might be able to gain before the race.

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Week 2 – The second week, the taper involves another 15-20% decrease from the previous weeks mileage.  At this point, there isn’t enough time for muscle adaptation to occur, so there really isn’t any benefit to incorporating any tough workouts at this point.  In fact, harder efforts have a greater chance of resulting in injury, so it’s best not to incorporate them within 10 days of a race.  At this point, I reduce my weekly runs down to a maximum of 8 miles, and drop my long run down to around a half-marathon distance.  I also recommend eliminating box jumps from strength workouts, since your shins don’t need to be malled two weeks out.  Outside of the elimination of box jumps, I keep my strength workouts pretty consistent through this point.

Week 3 – This is the week where the most significant decrease in mileage takes place.  In fact, if you don’t count the race itself, I recommend running less than twenty miles over the week.  You definitely want a minimum of one full day of rest, and nothing more than a 3-4 mile shakeout run the day before.  If your race is Saturday, I recommend running short runs Monday through Wednesday, a rest day on Thursday, and a shakeout run on Friday.  Move things up or down one day if your race is on Friday or Sunday.  If you’re feeling any kind of soreness during the week, schedule an extra rest day.  There’s absolutely no benefit to running more at this point.  Also, don’t plan on incorporating any really heavy leg workouts in the gym.  Avoid lifting over about 65% of your one rep max or workouts that have high repetitions, as both of these can result in soreness that you don’t want resurfacing on race day. 

This Weeks Workouts

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Total Miles: 54
Total Workouts: 4
100k Training, Week 8
How the Runs Felt
Like I mentioned before, I decided to keep all of my runs fairly easy efforts this week. I got in 10 trail miles out at Government Canyon with my friend, Lindsey. It’s been nice having a mix of technical trails with some of the easier and friendlier trails that are available at the state park. I had thought that I would save my trail miles for my days off this week so that I could sleep in just a little later Monday – Wednesday. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans for me by the time Thursday rolled around, so I moved Thursdays run to Friday, and kept it on the road when we got back from my dad’s house. I was really freaking tired after the New Years Eve fireworks, and the thought of spending two hours on the trail was just unappealing.

When I met up with running friends on Saturday, I was interested to see the new trails they had found off the greenway.  And man, these trails did not disappoint.  There was a nice mix of runable sections, along with some steep climbs, and a lot of gorgeous views.  I never take it for granted when I can find pretty trails, after living in south Texas for three years where there just wasn’t very many trails to enjoy.  I loved seeing all the pine trees, and the trail felt incredibly remote, even though it was only about 2 miles away from the Rim, which is a huge shopping area.  I spent a lot of time reflecting on how lucky I feel to live in an area where I’m always discovering new places to run that keep things interesting.

How the WODs Felt
The weights just keep on getting heavier for the strength portion of our workouts, and I’m not hating it. My legs were definitely a little more sore this week after the programmed back squats and squat cleans on Monday. I’m a little sad I’ll have to skip squats this week, but it’s for a good cause, so I can take solace in that. The 90 wallballs that were programmed on Wednesday felt like they would never end, and trying to get my legs to turn over after all those wall balls was pretty hilarious. I was feeling a little more sore this week than last week, but I do think my strength has been improving in the last couple of weeks.

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What I’ve Been Listening To
For most of my runs this week, I’ve been catching up on some episodes of the running podcasts that I haven’t listened to in a while.  I caught up on the Run Hard, Mom Hard podcast and UltraRunner Nation.  I’ve been in a true crime deep dive lately, and it was so inspiring to hear a few more running stories this week.  Definitely kept me motivated and excited for my 100k.  I asked a girlfriend for a couple of podcast recommendations, since I want to have something to download before Bandera, and she said I should check out Relative Unknown.  It’s a podcast that is hosted by a woman whose father was a Hells Angel biker.  The way he died was really intense (it seemed like he shot himself in his car after killing his wife and son in law, and then setting his house on fire), and she goes on a little investigation to discover what lead up to this event.  I listened to the first two episodes on my long run, and I am HOOKED.  I need to save the other 8 for Bandera, but it’s going to be hard not to pull them up over this week if I’m honest.

What Went Well
As much as it’s starting to drive me nuts, I have decreased my mileage and kept fueling consistent.

What Went Shitty
My hips have felt a lot tighter over the last couple of days.  I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of sitting for work and sitting in the car for so long.

Plans to Improve Next Week
Next week, I’m going to spend my extra time stretching and getting my race plan together!

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