Las Vegas Strip At Night Marathon Tapering

las_vegas_marathon_strip_at_nightThe Rock and Roll Las Vegas Strip At Night Marathon is in less than one week from today.  This means that I have already started tapering.  My last long run was on Saturday which was 13.1 miles and that I ran in 1:41 and felt great despite the 20-30 mph winds.  Sunday was a short 3 mile run with paces of 8:20, 8:00 and 7:52 per mile.  Today I had 2000 yards of swimming and the rest of the week are short workouts.

When I say short do not interpret that for lack of intensity.  I will be going hard but for a shorter duration of time.  Most of my workouts are anywhere from 30-45 minutes which means lots of rest and recovery for my legs and body.

This tapering also means that my diet has to change because I will be training for a total of about 4-5 hours this week as opposed to the 15 hours during triathlon training or even 10-12 hours during marathon training.  I know that I want to board the airplane on Friday morning at 138 pounds with the full knowledge that I will gain a pound or two or three while in Vegas before the race on Sunday.  Today I am at 145 pounds and have given myself a goal of losing 1-2 pounds per day.  I have been very successful since Sunday in accomplishing this goal and it has not been that difficult even though I am not working out as hard or as long as I used to.

I have eliminated snacking and have added more calories to my meals and thus allowing my body to carry that full feeling for more hours than I am accustomed to.  For example, this morning before my swim session I drank a cup of coffee and that was all.  I knew that the session would be less than one hour so I did not have a need to fuel before hand.  Afterwards I had two eggs on Ezekiel bread with vegan cheese.  My total calories consumed this morning was 370 calories.  My lunch will be a taco salad without the meat, sour cream, cheese or shell.  Then dinner will be a smoothie with two rice cakes topped with nut butter, honey and a banana.

That is the key to me losing this weight and that knowing what my menu will consist of on a daily  basis.  Tomorrow I will be doing a 45 minute run in the morning so there will be nothing to eat before hand, then afterwards will be oatmeal with a piece of fruit.  Lunch will consist of a smoothie with two rice cakes topped with nut butter, honey and a banana.  Dinner will consist of a Naan pizza with a kale pesto, sautéed vegetables and vegan cheese.

While considering what I needed to do for my nutrition this week I did some research and found a post that reinforced my thought process and it is a huge help in proving the structure for this week.  You can find the complete post [HERE] and it comes from Marathon Training: State Of The Art.

Nutritional Issues

Be sure to pack healthy snack foods you may wish to eat the weekend of the marathon.The Week Prior to Your Marathon

  • As you reduce your mileage during the last week, realize that you will not be burning as many calories. Thus, you may gain one or two pounds if you don’t cut back a bit on the quantity of your servings early in the week.
  • Use care in selecting foods to eat during this time period, aiming for nutritious and healthy items rather than snack/high fat products.
  • Hydrate well the week before the marathon and in particular, during the carbohydrate loading period (three days prior to the marathon). Research indicates that carbohydrates convert to glycogen more effectively when accompanied with the consumption of water. This is the time when you may gain a couple of pounds, but don’t worry about it. This will be your energy fuel during the marathon!
  • If you are traveling out town, be sure to pack healthy snack foods you may wish to eat the weekend of the marathon. Eliminate the need to search for a grocery store that stocks your favorite foods. See Packing List for more information.
  • If traveling by plane to your marathon destination, carry bottled water with you. Flying at high altitudes causes dehydration.
  • As mentioned above, carbohydrate loading begins three days before the marathon. Choose foods for lunch and dinner that are high in carbohydrates (e.g., pasta, potatoes, rice, etc.). Don’t neglect fruits, vegetables, and some protein sources however. Try to really scale back on fats during this time.

The Evening Prior to Your Marathon

  • Be sure to eat carbohydrate products that have been “tried and proven” during your training period. Keep pasta sauces simple, avoiding high fat varieties (e.g., alfredo, pesto, etc.). Avoid eating lots of salad items and vegetables (roughage) as these may prove to be troublesome on race day and can cause digestive problems.
  • Stick to water during the evening meal. Because coffee and tea contains caffeine, these products may make it difficult for you to fall asleep easily. Keep in mind that caffeine (as well as alcoholic beverages) are diuretics, which contributes to dehydration.


  • Don’t try anything new the week prior to, or during the marathon.
  • Also see Areas of Experimentation for more information.

What Do You Adjust During Your Taper Week?

Do You Layout A Menu For The Full Week Leading Up To Your Race?


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  1. katie says:

    I don’t lay out a menu, I just try and make sure I’m really aware of what is going in every day! Happy tapering, you’re in the home stretch now!
    katie recently posted..the fire is outMy Profile

  2. marlene says:

    The hardest part of taper for me is watching the calories, once I get used to eating certain quantities. I tend to develop a habit of eating a certain amount, even when it is more than I need… but you are much more disciplined than I am, so I know you’ll stick with the plan! Good luck with taper week and enjoy those short, intense workouts!
    marlene recently posted..Weekend Recap & HBBC Week 1My Profile

  3. misszippy1 says:

    Let me return to what I said about you before–you are hands down the most disciplined athlete I know! I’m sure all this thought into what you will eat this week will pay off for you. I don’t pay that much attention to my intake the week leading up to a race, other than to reduce fiber in the last day or two (b/c too much messes w/ my GI in a marathon), up the carb intake in the last two days, and yes, cut back some on calories. And add more hydration/salt.

    Anyhow–can’t wait to see what you will do there!!
    misszippy1 recently posted..The road back so far…My Profile

  4. Bob says:

    “Danger! Danger! Will Robinson” …. just sounds good so I had to use it…
    You want to lose 7 pounds or 4.8% of your body weight the week of the race?
    Tell me your kidding…

    You know you aren’t going to be losing the fat but precious water weight, don’t you?
    I would say this might work for a 10K but no longer..
    Please reconsider….

    Sorry to be a naysayer but us old people are like that…
    Bob recently posted..Black Friday Ninja ShoppingMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I am not concerned about having the strength b/c it will be there but my concern is with not losing some weight now that when I get to Vegas that eating will be out of control and I’ll be racing at a weight closer to 150 instead of 140. If I lose 3-4 lbs and maintain that in Vegas that is fine too. My biggest concern is with not losing any weight and then over-indulging.

      With my constant hydrating I don’t think that it will only be water weight that is lost. It is about refocusing my consumption and eliminating the snacking as much as possible. Drinking water and hydrating all week is on the agenda but the cookie eating, that I don’t need won’t be there.
      CTER recently posted..Las Vegas Strip At Night Marathon TaperingMy Profile

  5. Mandy says:

    Yeah…tapering is my favorite part of racing, but I usually gain a pound or two.

    Mandy recently posted..Sunday SamplerMy Profile

  6. BDD says:

    Hold on, am I reading this right? You want to lose 7 pounds this week, a taper week, right after your peak cycle? I am not trying to be a naysayer at all, but is that safe for a marathon?

    ENjoy your reward for all your hard work in Vegas
    BDD recently posted..Weekly RamblingsMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I am not concerned about having the strength b/c it will be there but my concern is with not losing some weight now that when I get to Vegas that eating will be out of control and I’ll be racing at a weight closer to 150 instead of 140. If I lose 3-4 lbs and maintain that in Vegas that is fine too. My biggest concern is with not losing any weight and then over-indulging.
      CTER recently posted..Las Vegas Strip At Night Marathon TaperingMy Profile

  7. Bob says:

    You get there on Friday. Surely you can stay away from the ALL DAY BUFFETS for 1.5 days?
    Eat properly the next few days..
    Don’t yo yo eating going into your biggest marathon…
    The Hooters ALL DAY buffet will be there when you finish…. I like the all you can eat breasts there myself (chicken)
    Bob recently posted..Black Friday Ninja ShoppingMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I just snorted from laughter at the Hooters comment.

      Yeah, no worries on changing the diet. I won’t be starving myself just eliminating the animal cracker sneak snack, the oatmeal raisin cookie snack, that popcorn during the blowout of the Giants-Saints game (I’m a Giants fan) and just eating wisely with my lean proteins, proper fats and correct amount of carbohydrates. This morning is a perfect example of it. I normally would have had a smoothie and 1 egg on a slice of bread. Instead I went with two eggs on two slices of bread and some cheese so that I got more calories in and feel full longer than less calories and then a mid-day snack before lunch, then lunch.

      It is about smart eating and not lazy snacking mid-day.

  8. Natasha says:

    I have a friend that is doing that one too! I’m gonna tell on her though because she is not good at tapering at ALL!! But somehow she still manages to pull it off. Good luck!
    Natasha recently posted..Ironman Arizona Part IIMy Profile

  9. XLMIC says:

    I’m with the guys about the weight loss, Jason. You’re training well at the weight you currently carry. What’s that saying? “Don’t try anything new before the marathon”, right? Be careful. I would suggest paying solid attention to staying fueled and hydrated and not depleted in any way, shape or form. You might want to work on getting your body’s elimination pattern geared to that late afternoon race, though. Unless it already is. Stay loose, stay happy… that’s the key. You’re going to do great :)
    XLMIC recently posted..Boys with Big Sticks… a situation that rarely ends wellMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I don’t disagree with any of you but it is about eliminating the snacking that is just not necessary and not fasting. I am eating healthy, as usual, but being more mindful of eating a cookie here and there. As my example to Bob regarding the hand into the popcorn bowl while watching football tonight. This would be easy to do as its my favorite team (Giants) playing and sitting there would be easy. Now, I am not going to do that as it is just not necessary.

      I would not sit here and not eat to lose the weight, but I just know it will fall off by not eating that oatmeal raisin cookie that I made yesterday afternoon. I can snack all the way to 150 lbs starting at 730p on Sunday when the race is over and don’t need to do it now, but instead focus on the healthy complex carbs, lean proteins and smart fats.

      And I have run a handful of times in the late evening working on those elimination patterns, but you bring up a good idea of eating at the times I will need to eat it on the day of the race.

      Thank you very much for your confidence. That really means a lot.

      • XLMIC says:

        It will be tricky, I think. The meal-timing, that is. For me, it’s not a problem because I almost always run at night, though a little later than 5:30 and not usually my long runs. I find that eating a more sizable meal about 10 hours out and then nutrient-dense, protein-rich snacks leading up to the event works for me. I won’t be running the full and haven’t run a full in over a decade, so that sort of long-term fuel need is escaping my memory at the moment.
        XLMIC recently posted..Boys with Big Sticks… a situation that rarely ends wellMy Profile

  10. Nicole says:

    I’m also going to chime in here. You are doing the right thing in wanting to eat healthy and watch your intake, but during a taper you should eat to match your energy expenditure, not less. For most this is simply, as you are doing, eliminating some of those extra snacks. However, I don’t believe that the taper is the time to be in a significant calorie deficit (especially 1-2lbs per day – that’s a safe weight loss for an entire week). The 1-2 pounds we often gain during a taper is often water weight, which isn’t a bad thing!
    Everyone is different, and dropping weight quickly might work for you, but it does have me a bit concerned. But you have a plan and are organized, and racing is always one big experiment! You have solid training under your belt and I will be rooting for you the entire way!
    Nicole recently posted..Ironman Arizona Nutrition ReportMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      Yeah it is just watching what I eat carefully. I know from taking my heart rate on an off day that my metabolic resting rate is nearly 3000-3500 calories per day by doing nothing. Walking from the furthest point in the parking lot to the grocery store, etc will still get me there. If I am eating 2000 calories per day which would be typical for most people to just survive then the weight will come off naturally. The idea is to eat those 2000 calories and eat to energy expenditure as you point out and not above. As you know when training 1-2 or sometimes 3 hours per day you are eating a ton of calories. With workouts being 45 minutes maximum there is no need to eat 3500 calories anymore and so it is the snacks that go. No need to worry about keeping glycogen levels up for the next days training as I have plenty stored up already since my expenditure won’t be there either.

      Appreciate your insight. It is always helpful to read others ideas and opinions. Test, test and test again…..won’t know what works for you until you try.

      • Side note for fun: I was hungry all the time the 3-4 days before Ironman Arizona. I was eating out mostly due to travel and tried to be careful and just ate until I was satisfied. I let hunger be my cue, but it always seemed to be back! The Friday before (2 days prior) I did want to consume a bit more because I knew that the day before my nerves would get to me and that usually affects my appetite. Although an IM is a bit more calorie intensive than a marathon! I will be running LA in March so I’ll get to play with a fueling strategy for that. Look forward to following you!
        Nicole Drummer recently posted..Ironman Arizona Nutrition ReportMy Profile

        • CTER says:

          Eating to hunger queues is the key. Sometimes I think I can eat this because I need the carbs for energy for tomorrow’s training and that gets me in trouble. Knowing that I won’t be working that hard means that I can skip that apple and focus on the hunger queues. Yeah, a 11-17 hour race is a lot different than a 3 hour marathon but I will say that my 3 hour marathons and even 20 and 22 mile runs have left my legs more trashed than the two HIMs I did this year.

      • Joseph Hayes says:

        Sorry, I know this post is old but I came across your site while surfing. I don’t know how old you are but if you are around 140lbs (similar to myself) there is no way that your RMR (resting metabolic rate) is 3000-3500 Calories per day. I don’t know how you are calculating it but it might help your training a lot if you had it tested at a physiology lab. I had mine tested using indirect calorimetry and it is 1200-1500 Cal per day. Unless you are a body builder and ripped to the point of bursting there is no way your RMR is that much more than mine.

        I also have around 6.8% body fat (water displacement tested) for comparison (not sure what yours is).

        I hope this helps you out, I would get tested for RMR, body fat, and V02 max if you haven’t already. I was tested at SFSU’s physiology lab and it was under $300 for all three tests.

        Happy Racing,


  11. Matthew Beal says:

    Keep up the great work!! You are doing great!! See you on Friday
    Matthew Beal recently posted..Towpath Marathon (Half Marathon – Fall)My Profile

  12. Jeff Irvin says:

    Screw them all Jason, 138lbs is a dream weight! Go for it.

    OR you could just follow my vegas plan. Get there on Friday morning – head to the NYNY craps table (I like the craps there the best) drink a RedBull and vodka every half hour until say maybe 4am, this is a solid 18hrs straight playing craps. Realize you are hammered but the Red bull will keep you wide awake. Head over to the Venetian and hit one of the breakfast buffets – can’t remember the place but it is awesome. After that take about an hour nap, drink a shit ton of water and then head over to Binion’s and get in on the morning Texas Hold ’em tourney – it is like a $75 buy-in with $40 or $50 re-buys. Drink a bunch of bloody Marys here with a glass of water every hour. If you play smart you’ll be there until dinner time and this is when you want to head back to NYNY and hit the steak house. Select a big ass cut of NY Strip and start drinking Vodka on ice (ice will hydrate). After this awesome dinner it is time to go old school so jump in a cab and head down to the Golden Nugget and find yourself a $20 Black Jack Table. Start the RedBull and vodka regiment again – it is going to be a long night! If you win go hit up a huge breakfast at Mandalay Bay, if you lost your shirt head south of the Golden Nugget and hit one of those greasy dives. Eat lots of Bacon either way. Around 10am on Sunday head back to your hotel, drink a shit ton of water and take another nap for a couple of hours. Wake up at 3pm, stick finger down throat and puke (will get you to race weight), drink a double shot of RedBull, and head to the 4pm race. Run your ass off so you collapse at the finish line. The collapse is planned because this will put you in the medical tent and get you at least 2 bags of saline, this is genius because you’ll be good as new – then head out to Caesar’s sportsbook and gamble on Sunday Night Football!

    That is what I would do, feel free to follow this plan!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Turkey Trot TimeMy Profile

  13. Chuck says:

    Stay fed my friend. Just curious (because I don’t eat them often) what else is left on that taco salad besides lettuce and salsa once you remove all the rest?
    Chuck recently posted..Happy ThanksgivingMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      At this place it is guacamole! corn salsa and pico de gallo. I could just get a house salad but it seems easier to write down that I don’t want the other stuff.

  14. Dean says:

    I’m “only” doing the half on Sunday but it should be interesting since it is in the evening. I luckily don’t have GI issues when I run (which is surprising because in life in general my digestive system is a mess sometimes) so I should be able to eat normally throughout the day and be okay. I drink tons of water all the time so that isn’t an issue, but I do need to remember it is okay to eat more than usual in the days leading up so that I am properly fueled.

    I plan to really cut back on exercise during this week, partially because I am sore from weeks of bootcamp workouts and training runs and a fall I took this weekend and partially because I have very little time to prep/pack for my trip and get ready for the drive.

  15. Due, you’re going to fly away in Vegas! I hope those winds they are having die down! Thanks for posting this Jason–looking forward to meeting you!
    Jess @ Blonde Ponytail recently posted..Thoughts: Rock-N-Roll Las Vegas Half MarathonMy Profile

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