Spring Race Training: Week 17 / Taper Week 1

09spr-training-17Welcome to my taper week. Won’t you come in and sit down? Because sitting down is what tapering’s all about. Sitting and resting. And thinking. Thinking about that big race you’ve been preparing for every day for the past six months. And trying not to worry.

Do try not to worry…

I’m a little worried. But that’s what coaches are for! Having hit Kevin with the latest data file and a barrage of questions, I’m waiting for his particular brand of “don’t worry” response.

So, yes, I’m a little worried. But I know the worry is irrational. The worry comes from the Wednesday workout, in which I again attempted (and failed) to hit marathon pace.

I almost did it, managing 7:08 average pace. But, shit, I was tired going in and had to take two rests during the 10 mile track opus. I had to remind myself that I’d run a huge workout over the weekend (22 miles with the last 12 at MPace). I was still carrying fatigue from that effort and, I suspect, the cumulative effort of weeks and weeks and months and months of running at an unprecedented level.

All of my diary entries up until yesterday contain a variation on “My legs are trashed! I am so tired!”

So, the rational part of me says, “Hey, it’s only two seconds off pace. You’ve been training like a Navy Seal. You’ll have no trouble after a few weeks of…”

“…tapering.”

So here we are, in taper week 1 of 3.

I did feel better starting yesterday, so much so that I had to be careful not to run too fast on yesterday’s recovery run. Because I wanted to run well today, as it’s my last long run before M Day.

Today’s run showed a glimmer of the taper effect. I decided to run by heart rate, not pace. My only requirement was that my average HR not exceed 73% of max over the course of the run. I could do whatever I wanted from mile to mile, but had to keep things easy overall. So the average stayed at 73%. And I averaged 8:22, a run which in the past few weeks has required an average effort more in the 75% range. What’s that I hear? The sound of energy returning? Sounds good.

Next week I anticipate that I’ll be climbing the walls. I have tomorrow and Thursday off. All the other days are recovery pace days. I have doubles on Friday. But I don’t even get to run a single stride. My mileage will top out at a whopping 40 miles. Seems like old times.

Before I go, congratulations go out to two runner acquaintances who raced their goal marathons today: Cowboy Hazel and “Joe Positive.” Cowboy had a great day in Maryland: He qualified for Boston and then some, set a huge PR, plus got second in his AG. And “Joe” ran a solid race in Ohio, also picking up third in her AG. Hooray!

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