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The Running Taper – Two Weeks ‘Til the Sarasota Half-Marathon

In less than two weeks, I will be writing the post about my first race of the season, and actually, my first half-marathon. I have never run this distance before and am looking forward to it. I’ve done the training, the speedwork, the tempo runs, and the hills. Now it is time to taper – and to rest, before the big day.

The Sarasota Marathon is only on it’s third year. The race is a USATF certified course and Boston qualifier (meaning you can qualify to run the Boston marathon, should you choose, if you run fast enough in the marathon category) and has gained a lot of attention since it’s inception. The flat course, which winds along Bay Shore Road, provides a constant view of Sarasota Bay. I’ve driven along the race route many times, and I expect the race will be interesting, fun, and beautiful.

There will be up to 2,000 or more other runners with me, which, by marathon standards, is not a big field, but apparently people from all over have gone to this race in the past. All I know is, I am prepared…or as prepared as I am going to be. From now on the training is mental. Can I do it? Will I need to walk? Those are questions for losers. I am going to race this race – not just run to see if I can finish.

So to ensure a good race day, I need to maintain a positive mental attitude, but I also need to taper. I cover my tapering goals in my other running blog, Corriendo, and basically, along with offering some good references on how to taper, I basically state that I need to reduce my mileage but since I don’t run an incredible amount of miles now per week, I am expecting to taper, but maybe not all the way down to 50%.

The key thing now is to prepare to be awake at 4 AM. Yes, I said 4 AM. The race starts at 6 AM and I need to get up and eat before a race like this. My distance running breakfast consists of a cup of coffee, toast, and two hard boiled eggs. I may not be able to get this down the morning of the race, but I need to try.

Anyway, this is not a marathon or half marathon for dawdlers. The award ceremony for the half is at 9 AM, but don’t worry, you have until 10 AM to cross the finish line. For the rest of the marathoners, get to the finish line by 11:30 to see if you win an award.

I am very excited for the race and pre-race expo. The Sarasota Fillm Festival will show “Prefontaine” and ABC 7 will be there on Friday, as they are one of the sponsors.

Tapering and Muscle Awareness

In my wind sprints today, I really felt the injury in my left hamstring. It’s one thing for me to run at tempo but when I sprint I can feal the tear, or whatever is going on back there. In the next two weeks I will need to focus even more on stretching and possibly getting a massage. I will need to force myself to not do any distances longer than six miles but that should not be a problem. I really need to focus on speed without going to fast all the time.

Hamstring tears are caused by overstretching, stress, fatique, and overexertion. I knew I tore my hamstring when I decided to do some weight training earlier in my training season. My left hamstring, for whatever reason, was already compromised and when I did a few hamstring curls, I felt enough pain to convince myself that I had over done it. Fortunately for me, I have been able to train through the pain and now I don’t really feel too much pain except when I sprint.

I am certainly not alone in my hamstring pain as hamstring pulls and other tears are one of the most common injuries for all athletes and active people, not just runners. Sadly however, poor running form may contribute to hamstring tears. It is important for everyone with this condition to be patient, as hamstring injuries take a long time to heal.

For me, I’ve been able to reduce the pain and fatigue of my hamstring injury through consistent training, rest, icing, ibuprophen, and maybe a little luck. While I won’t be doing any real speed work in the form of sprints due to the pain, I will do some fartlek work for speed.

The fartleks are high intensity, but if I keep my runs under 4 miles, I should not fatigue myself. Throughout my training it’s been rare that I have ever needed more than a day or too off and recently, I feel I could start running even more.

Next week I will go more into muscle injury and tapering methods.

Have a good week!



2 thoughts on “The Running Taper – Two Weeks ‘Til the Sarasota Half-Marathon

  1. A fantastic read….very literate and informative. Many thanks….what theme is this you are using and also, where is your RSS button ?

    Posted by Marathon Effort | June 5, 2009, 6:37 pm
  2. Nice blog! I wanted to personally invite you to the 3rd Annual Creaky Bones XC 5K on October 17th, 2009. Get all the details including the course map at

    The event includes a 5K Run, One Mile Walk, and Kids Monster Dash. It’s going to be a fun-filled, family oriented event. One Mile Walk is pet friendly; Kids Monster Dash has finisher medals and trophies for the winners; 5K Runners receive Syntrel microfiber training tee & awards (by age group) for winners.

    See you there!

    Posted by Legacy Physical Therapy | September 9, 2009, 7:57 pm

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