Tag Archives: taper

Last Long Run, Race + Ready

My last long run before next week’s One City Marathon is in the can.  It was 8 miles of fun with 10k at marathon pace.  It felt short for a long run but refreshing at the same time.  I like to do my last one eight to ten days out from race day and opted for this morning for a few reasons.  One was that I didn’t want to push it to Sunday.  The second was that I didn’t want to tack it on to another workout. 

The third is that In my infinite wisdom I also opted run a 5k this weekend.  I’ll be ‘racing’ the Big Wish 5k Saturday morning with no goal other than something to keep the intensity up heading into marathon week.  It definitely won’t be a PR but that’s fine with me.  I’ve saving it for next weekend.  Plus, with all this tapering, it’ll be nice to get out there with some other runners for a little laughter.

I do have a a little worry sneaking in that with three pure rest days and one shake out day I might go a stir crazy next week.  Recently I’ve used my Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook to fill some last long runof my non-running hours with great success.  These Superhero Muffins are delicious!  I guess my next move is to put some extra reading time and maybe a nap or two on the schedule.

So other than worrying about going taper bonkers, I’m feeling ready.  My legs are itching for a longer workout and my brain is ready for some discomfort.  This has been a successful training cycle no matter what and I can’t complain.  I learned a lot, pushed myself to more miles than ever before and stayed injury free.  All I can ask for now is some really nice weather on race day.

Meredith

How long is your last long run before a marathon or half?  Does it ever change?

Fit Friday: Taper Madness

I thought I might be able to avoid it but I was wrong.  I’m barely a week into my One City Marathon taper and the lack of miles has done it.  Taper madness is here.  With 15 days to go, I feel ready to race though I know more time to let my body rest will only be a benefit.  Here are a few of my go-to taper madness ‘Do’s and Don’ts’.taper madness

DO
Start reading.
  Take all those non-running hours and grab a book.  Or a tablet or an e-reader.  Even if you’re not actually running, you can get your fill of running excitement from any number of books.  One of my favorites is Eat & Run, home to a great story and some tasty recipes.

Meditate.  Practice relaxing.  That hour you’d be running is the perfect time to meditate and visualize yourself yourself crossing that finish line.  Get all the details from who’s standing near the finish line to what it reads on clock then remember if you’re not starting in Corral 1 to adjust it for your expected finish, not the gun time!  Visualization can be incredibly powerful and the more you see it happening, the more likely it is.

Plan.  Study the course map to create a game plan for hydration, find out what food is on the course and decide if you’ll be packing your own.  Figure out what your pacing strategy is.  Then come up with a few alternatives because we all know nothing ever goes just as we planned it.  Learn how you’ll get to the start and home from the finish area.  What’s the deal with gear check?  Read the race’s FAQ page to help you develop a bulletproof plan for success on marathon day.

DON’T
Be a Weather Monster.  Yes, the weather is a big concern for a 26+ mile event when you’re out there for hours and hours.  No, you can’t do anything about it.  Checking it every hour for three weeks will just stress you out and that’s no good at all.  Get a ballpark idea of what the race location’s weather is typically like that time of year, use your plan and make an educated guess.  The truth is it’ll probably change anyway.taper madness

Change.  Whatever you’ve been doing for the last 13 weeks, keep doing it for the next three.  Your body is repairing, healing and getting ready.  If your taper madness boredom leads to happy hour, you’re wrecking those weeks of hard work with poor sleep and dehydrated muscles.  Stick with the diet, nutrition and sleep patterns that have successfully carried you through your training.

Get nervous.  Something always goes wrong but that’s OK.  You trained then you planned and you’re going to show up.  There’s only so much you can control so don’t worry about anything else.  Bad weather, misplaced water stations and potholes all happen but with a solid plan you’ll be just fine.  Trust your training and yourself.

Meredith

What are your favorite ways to tackle taper madness?

Taper Time + A Strong Finish

It’s here!  Taper time!  My final long long run is in the books and marathon day is less than three weeks away.  I’ll be sharing my race plan for the One City Marathon later but for right now I’m looking forward to a little time to heal up.

Don’t take that the wrong way, I’m far from injured.  It’s just the usual aches or hints of stiffness that sneak in after weeks of heavy mileages.  My left foot is a little grumpy for my first few steps every time I get up and some extra ab work has probably pushed them a little far.  Taper time is exactly what I need both physically and mentally.  I’m definitely ready to tackle 26.2 but need these three weeks to let my body get in the best position it can to help me succeed.taper time

I had a strong finish to my heavy training and will work to keep it going right through the finish line.  This week’s last long long run was 21 miles.  My goal was to run 8 easy miles, 10 at marathon pace and 3 more easy.  It didn’t go quite as planned.  It went better!  The easy 8 went off without a hitch and when I went to pick it up 15 seconds a mile, I couldn’t.  Instead of settling in at my goal marathon pace, 7:55, I found 7:45.  I was very comfortable there despite telling myself to slow down every ten seconds.

When one of my half mile splits around Mile 16 was 7:36 I thought I was done for.  I felt good but was waiting for things to turn south.  They never did!  I cruised through those 10 miles at a hair too fast a pace but had a strong finish and felt great.  Maybe my marathon pace isn’t 7:55 after all.  I’ve struggled to find it throughout training, instead finding a slightly faster or little bit slower pace more comfortable.

No matter what, it’s taper time and I have three weeks to nail down my pacing plan.  I can’t wait for race day to see what I can do.

Meredith

What do you do at taper time?  What if you’re running ‘too fast’ but feel good?

Taper Week 2: Expected Success

Taper Week 2 of my first two week half marathon taper was an expected success.  There are six days until Myrtle Beach Race Day and I’m entering a very light Race Week tomorrow.  I’m just fine with a light race week.  I was good to go with this week’s light mileage.  It was last week that was the problem.  I wrote about my Taper Week 1 Nervousness but had none for Taper Week 2.  It was, with the exception of my very first one, the same thing I’ve done the week before every half marathon race week I’ve had and very comfortable.

Taper Week 2’s goal mileage was 23 and the schedule included two days of strength training where I spent a little extra time working on my ankle mobility and practicing pistols, an uneventful race pace run, a good long run of 10 miles, an easy three mile recovery jog and a solid speed work session.  With nothing on the calendar except ‘speed work’, I couldn’t decide what I wanted run Saturday morning.  I knew I didn’t want to do a brutally hard Michigan and opted for a ladder workout.  One mile warm up,1x1200M repeat at 10k pace, 800M recovery, 2x800M repeats at 5k pace with 400M recovery between and 3x400M at five seconds faster than 5k pace with 200M recovery, one mile cool down.  Short and sweet with middle of the road difficulty.

As I mentioned above, Taper Week 2’s long run was good, especially compared to last week’s first attempt.  To be honest, it left me feeling better than good.  I ran a large portion of it at race pace and loved the way my legs felt.  They were tired, sore and a bit heavy from tempo front squatting the day before.  This incomplete recovery made the faster parts of the run a challenge but knowing I could maintain my goal race pace for five miles feeling like that definitely helped me feel good about the potential to hit a new PR next Sunday.

I’m excited for Taper Week 2 to be behind me.  Race Week is finally be here!  The training for this race is different than anything I’ve done before and even though I know I’m faster, stronger and tougher than I was when I kicked the plan off, I’m curious to see what happens when I try to leave everything out there.

Meredith

How’s your fall training going?  Have you done a two week taper for a half?