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Joined: Sep 2009
I feel like I'm not good at getting my runners to peak when I want them to (Regionals for most of them, States for one two). Any advice on what you try to do differently as you approach that BIG race? I have been so unsuccessful that I wonder if I should be tapering at all. I also feel like my decent boys teams didn't respond to tapering very well at all, but the girls' teams that were pretty good did. Anyone go any theories on this? Or maybe, it's just an art, and I'm not much of an artist. That's definitely possible.
Joined: Aug 2010
@mattymath I've moved away from tapering too much, it seems to make the runners feel flat going into races more than they want. They seem to prefer keeping a level of effort up. I may decrease the intensity of the workout a little bit but keep up the volume and maintain some good high quality strides mid way through the week. The past few seasons I've been keeping mileage fairly consistent for the last month or so leading into a big competition.
Joined: Aug 2012
A couple thoughts...in my experience, tapering when you don't run a lot of miles just means you lose fitness. Kids who run 25-45 miles a week don't need to taper much. 45-55 mpw, maybe a VERY small taper. Kids who run 60 or more miles a week, tapering for a week or two seems to work fine (maybe down to 53-55 the first week, then 48-50 the peak week or something like that). When you taper kids who don't run a lot of mileage, they feel amazing for the first mile, maybe 1.5 miles, of the race, then they just fall apart and go backwards. Second thought: Possible exceptions to this no-taper policy might be fast twitch kids. They seem to respond better to tapering than your true 5k types, so you may have some kids who would do better with a slightly longer taper than I would normally suggest for a low mileage kid. Suggestions: 1) cut out your long run the week of your peak meet, no sooner. 2) Keep your volume the same as you have been doing the first 2-3 days of your peak meet week. You can cut down the volume of faster reps on Tuesday (but not intensity) if you do a workout Tuesday, but keep the total volume pretty close to what you've been doing. For instance, if we normally did 6x 1000, 4x 200 hill on Tuesday, peak week we would do 3-4x 1000, 3x 200 instead, but probably run longer recoveries in between and make sure we did enough total volume by increasing the cooldown or something. Wednesday, normal length recovery run or VERY slightly shorter run. Thursday, about half to 3/4 your normal volume, Friday, normal pre-meet workout.
Joined: Jun 2008
@mattymath My firm belief is that their is mental and physical tapering. If kids are not running at least 50 miles a week, maybe high 40's, they don't need tapering. The mental aspect though is extremely important. A top wrestling coach once said at a camp that he firmly believed the reason his kids did well at states and pretty much dominated was because of the mental tapering. Is your kid the one that has had a long season and just wants to get done, or are they the kid that is hungry. I like to change things up a little. I always save some workouts for the last couple of weeks that we haven't really done during the season. We are in the city and so I will send them on runs I know they haven't been on. I also break some of their medium runs up. Instead of a 6 mile run, they might do 6 mile repeats at whatever their time was supposed to be per mile with a short get a drink of water. Also, I try to cut some time off of practice without really cutting any miles which can be hard to do. We always have team dinners before district and regions. Our districts don't count for anything but it is still TEAM. We will also watch some motivational videos, runners coming from behind, or crawling across the finish line to win their team a title. I also pull out the state videos on milestat.
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