Thanks for taking the time to read this email.
I am a bigger runner with a lot of muscle (I'm 6-foot-3 and weigh 220 pounds) and I've run five marathons and I'm running another one soon. I can't seem to find any information on bigger runners and training plans especially when it comes to tapering. I swam in college and since I was bigger I required more taper time than most, would this be true in marathon training? I have typically done a longer run (13 miles, two to three weeks out) and then tapered the last two weeks with nothing longer than 8 miles but I don't really feel that strong at the race. What would you recommend for tapering for someone like myself.
Thanks again for your response,
Glad I was not the only one who couldn't find anything on marathon training programs for runners with large amounts of muscle mass in regards to tapering. Most was about how to not lose muscle mass while running.
There are three things as a coach I set out for every season or training block:
Strengthen the body to be able to handle the load of training.
Teach the body how to adapt to the demands of the race.
Allow the body time to recover for optimal performance.
Groundbreaking stuff right? Not exactly. Any training plan will want you to build a base so your body can handle the demands of training. Then you’ll work to make your body as efficient as possible. All while riding that fine line between stressing and adapting, or work and recovery. Leading up to a marathon your mileage is pretty high for anyone and is taxing on your system. Having additional muscle mass adds to that stress and you might need more time for your body to recover from peak volume.
I’m in favor of a gradual taper, working down from a 13 miler and then really peeling back each week. I’m not saying take a huge chunk out but in the last three to four weeks really stepping down the training gradually as to not make any drastic changes. This will give your body ample time to absorb the work you put in gradually and more preferably.
Nothing new or groundbreaking here. Not trying to re-invent the wheel just putting my spin on it.
This hopefully will put your mind at ease, too. It sounds like you were pretty happy with how your performances were in college after a longer taper. Subconsciously you just might feel better with more of a taper. And that’s OK. The right mindset is the biggest part of proper training.