Tag Archives: taper

Week 16 Tapering: 6/4 – 6/10

12 Jun

The theme of my first taper week:

Those who can’t run, walk.

Monday: 1.55 mile walk with pooches (untimed)

Tuesday: 2.63 mile attempted-run-turned-walk (38:54; 14:49/mile)

When I got home from work, I made a deal with myself: I could watch one NCIS episode before going out on my 4-mile run. That would allow it to cool down some (like 1 degree) outside too. I ended up falling asleep by the end of the episode but woke up right as it ended. Determined to run, I got ready and headed out with the dogs. I walked the first 1/4 mile to warm up and then started to run. Half a mile later, I was walking. My legs felt absolutely horrible and I was exhausted and cranky. I decided that I was doing no one any favors by pushing myself to run at all, let alone 4 miles. So I walked almost all of this and let it rest at 2.5 miles.

Wednesday: 5.05 mile easy run (1:00:10; 11:57/mile)

My legs felt better for this run but still weren’t 100%. Regardless, I was able to run all 5 scheduled miles, even averaging a 10:58 pace for the last 1.55 (sans dogs).

Thursday: 5.15 mile ‘fartlek-ish’ run (1:02:26; 12:11/mile); 1.55 mile walk (untimed)

Running in the evening is getting trickier by the day. It’s usually blazing hot by the time I get off work (80-90 degrees most days), with the sun still out in full force. So I’ve started to work backward from sunset to figure out what time I need to start my run by in order to not finish in the dark but still miss as much of the heat & sun as I can. Which works out decently well, except for the dilemma of dinner. What can I eat that won’t upset my stomach?

What is not the answer: a burrito. For some reason, I thought that eating a burrito before this run wouldn’t be that big of a deal. And maybe it wouldn’t have been if I had remembered to take Tums before leaving. But I didn’t and the acid reflux made this run pretty miserable, causing me to cut it from 8 miles to 5 and spend the last 3 miles doing fartleks with walking breaks instead of running the whole thing. I had been planning to run the remaining 3 (of 8) with the dogs but instead, I grabbed them for a walk when I got back. The whole time I was kicking myself. Seriously? That was a rookie mistake. Regardless, lesson learned. Again.

Friday: 2 mile walk to Redbox with Travis and pooches (untimed)

We rented Contraband. Meh. Not Mark Wahlberg’s finest. Travis said it was the exact same storyline as The Italian Job, only that movie was actually good. This movie also had a lot of cursing, which just gets hard to listen to after a while.

Saturday: 10.09 mile long run (2:08:29; 12:44/mile); 1.32 mile walk (untimed)

This was quite possibly the worst run of my life training to date. I was miserable the entire time (with the exception of maybe 5 minutes when I was running down a nice downhill and a hot breeze was blowing). The course I ran is a very gradual but relentless uphill on the way out – 165 feet in 5 miles. It’s not that bad but enough to make you really notice a difference when you turn around and run the gradual downhill. Except that I was so tired and hot that day, my speed remained the same. Here are my shiny new GARMIN splits (I’ll post my review of the watch once I’ve used it a bit more):

The reason this run was so hard is the trifecta: 1) I got started later than I should’ve (around 8:30), which I immediately regretted. It was already 80 degrees by then (the high for the day was 95) and was probably 85 by the time I finished at 10:40. And let me tell you, Colorado sun is HOT. Ridiculously hot. On a nice 70-degree day, you can be kind of chilly sitting in the shade but step into the sun and you’re burning up. 2) My mental game was off. No part of me was excited to be out there and by mile 9, I was silently cursing everything in sight. 3) My legs felt slow and useless.

Thus, my 12 mile run turned into a 10 mile run. Starting around mile 7, I bargained with myself that I could walk for a little bit (a minute?) at every mile marker if I ran the rest. Then around mile 9, I started doing run-walk intervals. The minute I walked in the door, I ran a tub of cold water and sat down in it. Ahhh…

Later, around 4:30, I took the dogs for a walk. But it was still way too stifling hot to be in the sun so I cut it short.

Sunday: 1 mile walk with pooches (untimed)

Total Running Miles = 20.2

Total Walking Miles = 9

I don’t normally count the miles I walk with the dogs as training because they’re pretty slow (since I usually wear flip-flops and the dogs sniff everything). But at least half of the miles I walked this week were done in old running shoes and with minimal allowance for sniffing so the walks were faster less slow than usual. {And I’m grasping at straws to not feel so bad for only running 20 miles last week.}

So now you can see why I’ve decided to do all of my remaining runs in the morning. And actually, once I get past the unpleasantness of having to get up early and the craptastic feeling of stiff and sorry legs, I enjoy running in the morning. It’s so nice and cool out! Plus, I LOVE being able to leave work knowing that the minute I walk in the door, I can lay on the couch and not move all night. That thought alone gets me out of bed. Glorious.

The Taper Crazies

11 Jun

So I’m beginning to see what people mean when they say they hate tapering. At first, I couldn’t see a downside to once again embracing 3-mile runs; having time on a work day to do something other than eat, run or work; and being able to replace miles with minutes of sleep. But then I encountered the worst part about the taper:

My brain.

And now I understand: the taper crazies are all in the head. They’ve been there on every run since my 20 miler, cursing my legs when won’t move like they’re supposed to (and following the rabbit trail downward spiral of what that could mean for race day…). They keep me up at night, wondering why in the world did I decide that running 26.2 miles sounded like a good idea? and CRAP, the marathon is less than 2 weeks away. They suggest that my legs won’t be fully recovered by race day. That my brain won’t be fully recovered by race day. Every mile on my training plan that I don’t run is like a stain on my conscience – what if that mile was the difference between succeeding and failing?

Of course I know I’m being ridiculous. I know that it’s better to take things easy and listen to my body, rather than be a plan-following Nazi (so that’s what I’ve been doing despite the taper crazies). But it helps to hear other people say it too:

Listen to your body. Don’t worry about cutting short or skipping a workout if you feel tired or sluggish. The taper is all about recovering from the effects of a long distance training schedule. Remember that it’s not the training done in the taper that will help you on the marathon day. Rather, the gradual buildup of distance over the last few months that will get you across the finish line… Think of the taper period as running to simply keep your legs moving…. The tapering period serves no benefit for increasing fitness for the marathon day; the fitness was acquired in the previous months of training. If you feel tired or sluggish, listen to your body, not your training schedule and skip a workout or two. {source}

Self: Remember this – You are not screwing yourself over by skipping a run when you legitimately feel horrible (or by cutting a run short when it’s 85 degrees outside…a story for tomorrow). It’s good for you to run at a slow recovery pace, even if it is mentally painful, hurts your pride and makes you doubt your ability to run faster.

The taper crazies have been exacerbated by my exhaustion. Not only does my body not want to run physically, my brain doesn’t want to run mentally. Even my stubbornness has taken a few hits this past week and thrown in the towel early and often.

So I’m asking God to let these shorter runs revive me. To freshen my legs and my outlook. Remind me why I love running, even though right now I want to dramatically swear that I’m never running again after this marathon is over.

As for the other aspects of tapering, I’m going to do all of my remaining runs in the morning. Even though I’d rather get back into my morning routine, it’s just too. darn. hot. to run after work anymore.

I’m also going to cut out alcohol, eat fewer sweets, drink at least 64 oz of water per day (not including water during runs), eat more protein (chicken and salmon this week!), and really try to get 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

Have any advice for conquering the taper crazies?