Race topo Chart. What is a taper?

I completed the ST 100 elevation chart from the information I extrapolated from “A walking guide to the Superior Hiking Trail”. This is a book where they took GPS elevation data for the entire trail and placed it on several charts for each segment as it was completed. As GPS is not perfect, the elevation chart is not perfect but actually close to the other data I have seen. (It also makes Moose Mountain look like the worse climb.)

I have read or heard so much about what is a taper for a 100-mile race; I am not sure I am doing it right. The easiest of all the comments I read was 75 percent the workout level three weeks before, 50 percent two weeks before and 25 percent or less the week before. I kept charging full boar, up to 9 days before the race and will do less and 20 percent over the next 9 days? I have been feeling pretty strong over the past few weeks. My confidence that I can finish this year is less after the experience I gained last year. Experience should give me confidence. Although this is a tough course, there needs to be more than physical workouts and experience.

Most people started the taper with two weeks to go. Although with my son leaving to study in Germany and some other issues bringing me down, I decided to do the hills on Wednesday. Karen Gall met me at Hyland after my second repeat and we proceeded to attack the hills very hard together. She was so strong and after a few more, I knew I was in need of a taper. We were averaging around 16:55 per mile for the first 12 repeats. I downloaded the run and I had an average heart rate of 147… Wow…

Then I challenged Karen to see how long it would take here to catch me. So she started and I followed. She gained on me with each repeat and after 5 repeats we were averaging 16:20 mile pace and I was felling like I was at Sugarloaf last year. My legs were heavy, I was soaked with sweat and felt like there was not much left. Karen still looked strong and near the end of the 6th repeat, she come up behind me. What a workout to take the personal issues out of my mind! That was a hard 6 repeats. Average heart rate was 158! AVERAGE. Peak was listed at 173. Now conventional wisdom says 100 percent for me would be 175…

I was so sore and fatigued; I had trouble sleeping that night. I woke to the greatest muscle fatigue. I am not sure when I felt that stiff. Well, last year after the 100. May have not been a good idea, but I sure mentally feel better.

SO I started to think what is a taper anyway. Thursday, I went for a 2-mile walk, a swim and did some heavy upper body and mid-section weights workout. Today I plan nothing. Saturday may be a 20-mile easy bike ride? One thing for sure, next Tuesday is the last days I do anything other than live life. Ice will do ice and heat treatments on the real sore areas and start packing and finishing the detailed planning and drop bags for the race. Last year, I was cocky up to the night of the race where I was so scared I almost had difficulty speaking. This year, I am just nervous about everything. Not overly nervous, not cocky, but apprehensive about my chance of success. Steve Q. gave me an 80% and I appreciate that confidence. I think I am a 50/50. May be better prepared physically than last year, but think I am not as prepared mentally. But in the words of many “that is why we play the game”. Without the start, we are 100% assured of failure.

Carry on…

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Race topo Chart. What is a taper?

  1. Carl Gammon

    I hear so many different opinions on a taper. I don’t think it’s an exact science, but then, what is in this sport? As long as you enter the actual race without muscle soreness and fatigue, you’ll be fine. We’ll see you in a week. Yikes, that’s close!

  2. SteveQ

    I started my taper 8-10 weeks ago, unintentionally. The important thing to remember is that there’s no training you can do in the last two weeks that will help. Just do what feels comfortable.

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