Half marathon taper week

Preston Guild half marathon route
Preston Guild half marathon route

Its hard to believe but I’m on my taper week before the Preston Guild half marathon next Sunday!

After reading up on how to taper I read lots of contradictory advice about frequency and mileage. In the end, I decided on three runs, reducing the mileage on each one, with the last run on Thursday. That will leave me with two full days rest before the race. My taper looks like this;

  1. Sunday, 8 miles. 8.78 miles in 1:34
  2. Tuesday, 4 miles
  3. Thursday, 2 miles.

I pick up my race number and timing chip the day before at the expo, which should give me the chance to start soaking up some of the atmosphere. The race is the culmination of The Preston Guild, the only Guild still celebrated in the UK. Held only once every 20 years, so if I run in the next Guild race I’ll be doing well!

The race information arrived with this nugget of information.

The course cannot be described as hilly; however, there are a number of ‘undulations’ that will test you…

To be honest, I was a bit worried when I read that. Then I thought about all the miles I’ve put in over the last 20 weeks specifically for this event which made me feel better.

I did my first taper run yesterday which went well, blue skies and even a bit of sunshine for a change. I did arrive home with a blister between my toes, which was a first. I’ve also got a bit of runners nipple after last weeks long run. Two things I need to get sorted before the race.

So there’s nothing else I can do now but keep my legs moving ready for the big day. In the words of the Pointer Sisters, I’m so excited!

22 thoughts on “Half marathon taper week”

  1. Agree with the advice above especially for your first attempt. Its better to finish strong, than struggle towards the end. I just did my first full marathon and the same applies. the fact that I finished on a high and injury free means that I’m eager to sign up for my second marathon. Although other ppl I know my time was awful, I am not put off. Whereas others I know have said never again because of bad memories of the whole thing.

    Best of luck.

  2. Best of luck with the race, have a great day. I can say from recent experience as someone who completed their first half marathon, go you own pace at the start, you will soon overtake them all around miles 3-4 anyhow.

  3. I hope your taper is going well! As long as you lower your intensity during this week so your body can recover, you’ll be in good shape. Have fun at the expo! You are right, that is the best time to soak in the race atmosphere to get you pumped for the big day. You are going to do great!*

  4. I’m really excited for the race too! I’m hoping to fit in four miles on Wednesday evening and two miles on Friday. I might see you on Sunday but if not, good luck!

  5. Wow! And this is why I love running because god have us the ability and all we need is the determination to reach our goals! I wish you all the best!!! Good luck in your race!!! :)

  6. John, I wish you great success on your first half marathon! I hope to be doing the same this December. I’ve just finished my first 10k and I noticed the time I took off to rest seemed to help tremendously. I share your sentiment that you can indeed find so many conflicting opinions, that the only thing I’ve concluded with certainty is that we are ALL different.

  7. Best wishes on your first half, John. Everyone else has offered such sound advice. I use a store brand petroleum jelly cream for chaffing. Bodyglide is just as effective of course. Remember the point of your taper period is to get a few miles in to keep loose in the last week and most importantly to allow your body to recover from all the hard work you’ve been putting in training. Keep the runs this week very relaxed and easy. Finally, some advice from my fellow runners that I am still learning to implement is do not be afraid to start out easy for your half. If you have a target pace, strive to start out about 10-20 seconds slower. That will allow you to run faster and harder as the race progresses so you can finish strong and confident!

  8. Good luck John – I’ve enjoyed following your progress to the start line! Hope it all goes to plan for you, don’t forget to have a Plan A and B (and possibly C) in mind before gun time!

    Have you started to think about what your next race might be after the Preston Guild?

    1. I’ve not really decided what is next. I’m going to consolidate my running fitness and try and do some more cross training. Next year, who knows!

  9. Rest is always your best friend. But it also depends on the distances you are used to running. If you’re an avid marathoner who is used to running 20milers on Sunday then “tapering” takes on a new meaning compared to someone who’s longest distance is a half-marathon.

  10. On first glance your “Next Race” widget always looks like it says Persian Gulf Marathon to me. Must be a combination of my old eyes and the American obsession with that part of the world. ;(.
    You probably already do these things but here are two tips for issues that you mentioned. For nipple chafe I always use band aides. For blisters on your toes use medical tape. 3M makes a light brown tape that is probably used to hold gauze bandages in place. It sticks even when wet. I just wrap my toe once around with this tape and I hardly ever have any problems with my toes. I used to loose nails all the time after a marathon.
    Have a great race.

  11. I definitely recommend BodyGlide for, well, nearly everywhere once you get into those looong runs. It definitely reduces the chafing. I thought I was using it liberally enough, but after my first marathon, I actually had a U-shaped chafe-scab on my chest just from the edge of my tank top rubbing on it! I guess the slightest motion over that long a time will create annoying friction. Good luck! You’ve prepared and trained and you will rock it.

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