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023 Todd Buckingham - Marathon Training, Finding Your Magic Mileage and the Science Behind Tapering
Episode 235th October 2022 • The Passionate Runner • Digital Authority Group, LLC
00:00:00 00:57:05

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Episode Summary

Todd Buckingham is the Chief Exercise Physiologist at The Bucking Fit Life. He earned his PhD. in kinesiology from Michigan State University. In addition to being an expert in endurance performance, Todd is a Triathlon World Champion and a 2:25 Marathoner. Today, Whitney and Todd talk all about The Marathon Taper. They discuss the science behind tapering, why some runners feel awful after the tapering process, common mistakes to avoid and best practices to employ when tapering.

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Key Takeaways

01:08 – Whitney Heins introduces today’s guest, Todd Buckingham, who joins the show to share his running origin story, how he trains for Marathons and the biggest mistake runners make

11:03 – A 2:25 Marathon and 40 miles per week

16:46 – Finding your ‘Magic Mileage’

21:28 – The Marathon Taper

27:23 – The physiology of the Marathon Taper

30:20 – When you should time your ‘peak’ workout during Marathon training

33:14 – Guidelines for knowing which Taper is best for you

36:35 – How to know if you tapered correctly

42:13 – Why many runners feel terrible when they taper and recommendations for runners who think that they aren’t doing enough

48:36 – Common mistakes runners make when tapering and best practices for tapering the right way

53:44 – What’s next for Todd

55:58 – Whitney thanks Todd for taking the time to join the show

Tweetable Quotes

“Distance Running is an aerobic sport. And to perform your best, you need to have the good aerobic base built. And you can’t do that if you’re pushing the envelope on your easy runs because when you run too hard, your body’s not able to produce and develop new mitochondria.” (09:38)

“That’s one of my favorite sayings. So, I have athletes who I coach - runners, triathletes, cyclists - and that’s one of my favorite sayings. ‘Just because you can run faster doesn’t mean you should run faster. Or, just because you can do this race, doesn’t mean you should do this race.’” (16:26)

“I always tell my athletes to just focus on comparing yourself to you. Don’t compare yourself to anybody else because it doesn’t matter what anybody else is doing. And that’s why when I go to a race, I don’t really care who else shows up. I know what I’m capable of and my training has prepared me for this race. I don’t need to compare myself to anybody else.” (19:55)

“So, the purpose of the Marathon taper is to have you fresh and ready to race the best Marathon you can. When you’re in training, you’re always gonna be carrying some level of fatigue because you’re putting in thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, one hundred miles a week. And your body is not able to recover from that in a day or two. So, the taper, which is gonna depend on your fitness level and what works for you because sometimes a one-week taper works for some others and a week and a half or a two week taper works for others. And so, you really have to experiment with what works best for you.” (22:06)

“Unfortunately, you’re probably not gonna know if you tapered correctly until after the race. And, you might not even know directly after that race because it’s more about building your body of evidence. So, if you have a good race where you tapered one way, and then you have a better race tapering another way, and a worse race tapering another way, you really have to put all of those pieces together. And I know likes to hear that it’s trial and error, but it kinda is.” (37:04)

“The body craves consistency. And so, when you take that away, it kinda gets thrown outta whack.” (44:02)

Resources Mentioned

Whitney’s LinkedIn –

The Mother Runners Club –

Todd’s LinkedIn –

Todd’s Website –

The Bucking Fit Life Website –


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