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The Marathon Taper

Queens Distance been asked multiple questions about running over the years; how to train, what training plans to follow, how to cross training, what nutrition to take, and how to taper. In order to help train for races, we host multiple Destination Long Runs and track sessions at Astoria, Forest Park, and Bayside. To get the most out of those runs before the big race day, it’s also important to understand the taper.

It’s been weeks of training. Going to sleep early and getting up early to run has become the norm. We’ve been practicing our marathon pace, our nutrition, and our mindset. Then, two to three weeks before race day is the time to taper.

What is tapering? We’ve asked three of our members to write down their own thoughts and approaches when it comes to tapering.

Elizabeth Corkum

Upcoming Marathon: St. George Marathon, October 6th.

Elizabeth at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon 2017.

 The taper is perhaps the most important mesocycle for a marathoner. After months of hard work, the final preparation for the marathon occurs. The taper is usually the final 2-3 weeks before the goal marathon. During that time, mileage is cut down systematically – 20-30% each week. Low mileage marathoners reduce less than high mileage marathoners. It’s recommended that cross training (XT) discontinues two weeks out (just get extra rest on a previous XT day), and strength training (or any additional activities) pause a week out from race day.

It’s important to continue running through the taper (don’t just rest for 2-3 weeks!) and to stay sharp. Therefore, some speed workouts and marathon goal pace runs should continue. In fact, some studies suggest that an athlete can experience a 3% boost in performance on race day if the taper includes some speed work but reduction in mileage. The hardest part is respecting the taper. Many of us want to squeeze out any additional training possible. Once you are three weeks out, the hay is in the barn and there’s not much an athlete can do to make up for missed workouts 12 weeks before. Trust in the work you HAVE put in, do the runs on your calendar, and get extra sleep and rest, hydrate, and stick to nutritionally dense foods. Spend your time and energy towards studying your race course, race weekend plans, and relaxing.


Marie-Ange Brumelot

Upcoming Marathon: pacing the TCS NYC Marathon, November 4th.

Marie at the NYRR 18 Mile Tune-up 2017. Photo courtesy of Sam LaFata.

The process of reducing overall training volume for a peak performance at a goal race.

To get your legs back from heavy training and be fresh for your race.

Some races can be used as training runs towards a further particular goal. Taper in preparation for your specific goal race only.

Athletes whose training regiment requires deloading in order to perform at their best.
Let us explain further.
-One can train to peak, then tapers and races. Usually these athletes have a high training volume, thanks to which many gains are obtained, but require rest before peak performance can be achieved.

-One can train all the way to the race, gains fitness all throughout his or her training cycle which culminates with a race. No tapering is required.

Is there a better option? YES! The one that works for you!

We are all different and ultimately need distinct approaches.
-TIMING: Tapering is about recovering before a race, so your own personal ability to recover will directly affect the length of your tapering period. A general approach is to deload over the course of 2 weeks.
-AMOUNT: The higher the training volume, more fatigued you are, the more you should taper. The general rule is to reduce training volume by 40% over the course of those 2 weeks.

COACH’S TIP: While tapering, focus on recovery, look back at what you have achieved in your training cycle, visualize your race regularly, and get mentally ready to lay out your best effort on race day.

As Marie puts it, tapering is a good time to sit back and relax.


Christine Nasol

Upcoming Marathon: TCS NYC Marathon, November 4th.

Christine at a recent NYRR live discussion for TCS NYC Marathoners. Check out the video on Facebook.

With 6 weeks of training left until the NYC Marathon, I cannot stress the importance of incorporating tapering into your training routine, and I remember how important it was in my training. During training, tapering is important to allow your body to rest and giving your legs a fresh start so that come marathon day, you’re able to run to the best of your ability.

Even if you haven’t had a perfect training cycle, trusting in your training process and that you’ve done the work is key. It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting in one more hard run, and feeling like you need to push yourself up until the day of the big race. I definitely remember my own fear of feeling like I was going to lose all my hard work and fitness if I tapered! But it takes just a few miles of overtraining to cause injury, or not feeling like you have a full tank of energy for your big race.

Everyone’s tapering schedule is different, depending on their ability level and personal goals, but my own tapering schedule for my long runs from last year after my last long run of 18-20 miles was as follows: 3 weeks left until the marathon: Ideally your last long run (18-20 miles) 2 weeks left until the marathon: Shorter mileage run of 12-14 miles 1 week left until the marathon: A run under 10 miles (7-8 miles worked for me!) And then of course, MARATHON WEEK!

Incorporating proper recovery techniques (foam rolling, stretching, yoga), proper nutrition, sleep, and some good shake out miles during the week of the marathon will set you up to run your big race with the proper energy and fresh legs that you need to feel your best on race day!


Trust your training and trust the taper! If you have any questions or suggestions for another blog post, email us at Good luck to all the marathoners this fall season!

We’ll see you out there.

Queens Distance

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Forest Park 10 & 5 Miler: Recap

Another year passes by and Queens Distance has held yet another race at Forest Park! The QDR Forest Park 10 & 5 miler race started at 9AM this past Sunday, September 2nd. It was the seventh time we’ve held a race on the hilly road inside Forest Park. As Queens Distance Team Captain Kevin Montalvo made sure everyone knew right before the race started, it was two out-and-back loops for the 5 milers and four out-and-back loops for the 10 milers. And then they were off!

The start of the Forest Park 10 & 5 Miler. Picture by Horse and Duck Photo.


We host our races around specific themes, current events, or to contribute back to our community. We’ve hosted the Philippines 5K (around the Philippines Independence Day), the World Cup 5K (before the 2018 World Cup), the Mexico 5 miler (on Cinco de Mayo), and other races to show the great cultures and diversity that Queens has to offer. The annual Toy Drive 5 Miler is held in December and we collect unopened toys for children in collaboration with Queens Centers for Progress.

Images by Horse and Duck Photo


This past Sunday, we collaborated with Queens Community House (QCH) and their Eviction Prevention Unit for the first time. The housing and homelessness prevention program advocates for affordable housing as well as spreading knowledge to tenants across the borough the Queens. Please listen to Housing Specialist John Strub from QCH with a pre-race speech thanking everyone who came out for the race and everyone who donated to QCH, and to spread the mission of the Eviction Prevention Unit. 

Even though the race is over, please consider donating to Queens Community Housing!

We had many runners from different NYC running teams lined up. From Front Runners, to the Polska Running Team, to Achilles International, it was a show put on by the larger NYC running community. Congrats to all the runners! It was a hot morning but a good tune-up to prepare for all the upcoming Fall races and marathons.

Images by Horse and Duck Photo


Without the help of our volunteers, we would not be able to hold events, so a big thanks to them! We had Michael Remanche drive along the route to set up cones and drop off volunteers along the way; Diego Britez, Ginia Guzman, Jeff Muñoz, and Jonela Molla were course marshals; Jossue Vega was security at baggage check; Winston and Laurentia Mei were at the water station located at the far hairpin turn on the course; Nina Manso handed out medals to the finishers; and Jessica Peralta and Maria Wong took charge of the registration table and the Kids of Queens race. We also had double-duty volunteers that manned the water station by the start/finish area: Daniel Rivera, Michael, Jessica, and Maria. A huge thanks to Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance for their support and for making sure runners were safe as temperatures rose and to Elitefeats for timing the race and providing official results in a timely fashion. Last, but not least, thanks to our hardworking bike pacers, Mario Silva and Bryan Guzman, who led the first 10 miler male and female runners to the finish line as well as sweeping the course to make sure our runners were safe.



And Kevin! Kevin was not only race director but led the 5 mile winner and later the Queens of Kids race on Jossue’s bike!

Images by Horse and Duck Photo


In case you haven’t already seen, our stupendous photographers, Horse and Duck Photos, were there to capture every second of the excitement! Big thanks to the duo comprised of Jose Donado and Albert Tan who made it out to yet another QDR event! Check them out on their Instagram account and check out all the images taken on their public Flickr album.

Stay tuned for our next race later this year and follow our calendar for upcoming group runs and workouts.


Queens Distance Runners

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To an Olympic Trials Qualifier

The following was authored by Marie-Ange Brumelot.

The sport of running is one of a kind in that it requires nothing but the desire to move forward. The marathon discipline itself is a perfect representation of that. One can go spectate any Big City marathon and observe individuals running without shoes, fancy gear, or even legs. I can truly say that I am in love with the simplicity of the sport. It makes me feel more accountable for what I have do to, just put one foot in front of the other. It also gets the best out of people: kindness, support, and determination to name a few. Founders and members of my beloved team Queens Distance Runners are a great example of that, which is a big factor in my success today.

We all get lost sometimes, we all have setbacks, we all go through though experiences, but these are what makes us stronger. The 2017 edition of the New York City Marathon was my hardest run to date. I struggled to finish, I had lost my passion for running, and all athletes would know, without a deep desire to succeed, there is not much left. However, being a home race, the support on and off the course was absolutely amazing and inspiring, which drove me to bounce back stronger than ever.

I love training through the winter: no heat to worry about keeping pace and effort aligned, just hop on the treadmill on heavy snow days. I trained really well heading towards the One City Marathon held in March 2018. I did not increase my mileage from the previous cycle, I stayed about upper 80s miles a week with one run a day, but kept things much more consistent, and was extremely fortunate to have Edwin and Luciano to push with when it was time to do so. I came in to every workout with a goal effort to sustain and continuously surprised myself with the times and paces I was able to hit. The only race on my calendar in between the two marathons was a 10-miler in Prospect Park to close my peak week, the goal was to average marathon pace after a moderate solo 10 miles in the park. Things went really well, I was ready.

I was hoping to run a 6:10 pace for the marathon, which would get me right under 2hr42, although I thought it was quite ambitious. My personal best still laid at 2hr48, so I was, to say the least, hoping for a big improvement. I showed up to the starting line ready to put in my greatest effort and was excited to see what numbers I would see. I have learned to gauge myself on race-day, to be patient, and to simply cross every mile marker with the belief I have just ran the best and smartest mile I could.

Things started smoothly, I held back early on to stay around my 6:10 pace, which was a relief as I was unsure it would feel right. I knew that if the pace felt easy early on, with how well training went, it would be all a matter of mental strength in the later stages. So I cruised, clocking some faster miles here and there but staying controlled, something beautiful was unfolding. I made it to 16 miles before starting to feel uncomfortable. I told myself two things; one “it’s just a 10-mile tempo to go, you’ve done plenty of these”, and two “let’s get to mile 20”. Indeed, it was quite early to begin battling but I was ready to work hard. Taking it one mile at a time, I got myself to mile 20 without slowing down a bit. And there, the world changed. I did not hit a wall, but in contrary got sort of second wind. I finally got a glimpse at the first female I had been blindly chasing for two hours. My competitive spirit gave me a shot of adrenaline. Although she was still quite a distance ahead, seeing her back took my mind off the discomfort I was feeling. I instead focused on closing the gap between us two while my mind was going back and forth on whether on not I could catch her.

The last 5 kilometers of a marathon are pure hell. Every step is like a gunshot in my quads, my mind is exhausted, my vision gets blurry… but that’s where the difference is made, that is when you really get to test yourself. While I was looking at the white traffic lines on the road, debating stopping to end this barely handleable pain, I recalled all the hard runs me and my training buddies went through, I replayed in my head all the cheers from teammates I had heard during the NYC Marathon, and I kept grinding. Mile 24: 6:00, Mile 25: just one mile to go, I counted the seconds separating me to first pace, the watch gave me a 6:05 mile, it was now or never. I tried to pick it up, I had over 10 seconds to make up. “Train like you want to race, and you will race like you trained.” I had repetitively showed my ability to close hard in training, now was the time to capitalize on it. Mile 26: 5:53, the gap kept closing but I needed more road. A quick laugh at myself for thinking that as looking back 5km I wanted to stop so badly. On jiggly legs I “sprinted” down the last stretch as first place broke the tape right in front of me. I would not have been able to close any faster.

I crossed the finish line in 2:40:50, an Olympics Trials performance by over four minutes. I bettered my expectations in terms of goal time and effort I could give on race day. With a big smile on my face I look at my result, an almost perfect race had just happened, this one will be hard to beat.

Each race is an experience to learn from giving us a chance to come back even stronger. Never doubt yourself and fight for every step because there are beautiful things waiting when you push through. The marathon is a long race when we are being tested continuously, from beginning to end. Always believe you can achieve great things, and you will. The beauty of this sport lays in each athlete’s mind. Thank you all for the endless support, team work makes the dream work.

Marie-Ange Brumelot

@marie11201 on Instagram

Athlete page on Facebook