I am planning on doing the Indianapolis 500 Half Marathon in May. I am a real slow (around 12 minute pace) half marathoner so I'm looking at a 2:40 or so time. My max mileage week for the event will be 22 miles including a 14 mile long run. I am then planning on doing a 2 week taper to heal up from the training. My feet and knees get pretty knicked up when I do this kind of training and in the past a 2 week taper allowed me to enjoy the race pain free.
I usually do 2 4 mile runs each week plus a long run each weekend. What would you recommend for my weekend longish runs in the 2 weeks preceding the half marathon?
You'll probably get a lot of answers since it varies a lot from person to person (we're all an experiment of one), but in general I'd cut it to maybe 1/2 then 1/3 of your longest run. You don't gain much (if anything) from your long runs in the last couple weeks, so no sense having it potentially harm your race. I tend to keep my long runs pretty long, but the pace is extremely mellow... conversational the entire day.
I'll normally follow a similar taper to what you're planning (2 long run weekends that are shorter than normal). Might look something like this for my long runs (this distances will vary depending on what your typical long run is, these are just examples):
Week 3: (full long run) 20-40 miles
Week 2: (1/2 distance) 10-15 miles
Week 1: (1/3 distance) 5-10 miles
Week 0: Race
Week +1: no long run
Week +2: 1/2 distance long
Week +3: normal schedule
Sometimes I can sneak back up to normal at week +2, sometimes not... depends on the race and how injured it left me.
The Indy half is a really great race, you'll have a lot of fun!
I think cgerbers advice is pretty solid. As you gain experience and your fitness level improves, you'll get a better idea as to what taper works best for you. A long run a week or so before the race isn't going to help. Basically, two weeks before I would keep your two 4 milers and cut your long run to about half of what you normally would do. The week before cut it to 1/3. The week of the race, I'd do a 4 miler early in the week and 2 nice and easy miles two days before the race. I find that a single easy mile the day before a race helps me, but that's strictly mental. It gives me a chance to move my legs a bit and the ease at which I can run a mile gives me the warm fuzzies and a boost of confidence.
Good luck, looking forward to your race report.
As cgerber indicated, you'll get lots of answers. And, I'm probably at the far end of the spectrum. For races HM or shorter, I don't really taper, except for a mini-taper in the week before. I'll do about 80% of the miles I would normally run. Typically, I would run 40 miles. The week leading up to a HM, I might do 32. If the race is on Sunday, I'll run maybe 5 miles on Saturday (I usually rest on Friday). The week before, my long run would be 8, the week before that 10.
As mrinertia has alluded to already, it's good to do some quicker paced stuff in the final week. It tends to keep you a bit sharper and ready for the race... I'll normally do a run with some faster pick-ups a few days out from the race (ie, around Wed or so).
[http://This message has been edited by cgerber (edited Dec-11-2007).|http://This message has been edited by cgerber (edited Dec-11-2007).]
There are training plans on the 500Festival.com site. You might look at those and see how the tapers look to you there. They have several plans: walk, walk-run, run-walk, run, and advanced run. They have been provided by Jenny Hadfield in the past, and I expect they will be this year, too. The plans should have started last week.