It’s Taper Time!!!
It’s hard to believe I am officially trained for a marathon. It seems like too short a period of time.
While I’ve felt strong with each run, including the 21-miler I did Sunday, I can’t help but think the training is inadequate since I’m still five miles away from my goal distance. It’s the feeling I get before every marathon, so it’s nothing new. But still. Here I am. Stressing, even though I know it’s going to be fine.
I had hoped to train up to 24 miles, which I have done a time or two before. I just didn’t have enough weeks to gradually climb to that distance and still take my pull-back weeks of reduced mileage. But most marathon programs only train to 20 miles, so I’m a mile further along than what is deemed adequate by people much smarter and more knowledgable about this stuff than me.
I feel pretty good about my pacing consistency. The first few runs I did at a pace nearly 30 seconds faster than my norm, I assumed it was a fluke. But I just keep on keeping on and the pace has remained consistent. Even when I don’t feel like I am running at a good pace, I’ve been surprised to see the numbers.
Sunday, for instance, the first six miles felt like running in slow motion. My legs were still stiff from the prior week’s 19-miler and subsequent weekday runs. When I started out Sunday I felt like I was giving it my all just to keep moving, but getting nowhere quick. But I’d check my splits and was right on pace.
I thought I would be warmed up and loose by two miles, but no such luck. But I kept moving, sure that I would eventually get there, and I did. By about mile six, after a second dose of ibuprofen, I was feeling great. Soon after, I was feeling the magical runner’s high.
Life was good miles seven through eleven. I was on complete autopilot, feeling like a rock star, running through a beautiful city on a spectacular day.
I tried to keep myself from picking up the pace too much knowing the high would eventually wear off and I would have several miles left to run with no nothing left to give.
The euphoria did eventually dissipate, but I was still feeling pretty great by the time Lisa met up with me at mile 14. She has been a huge factor in my success this training season. No matter how many miles you run, the last ones are always the hardest to keep on pace. For about half of my runs, Lisa has met up with me and has run me in those last few miles with a perfect pacing technique.
Miles 14 through 19 flew by as we chatted and got caught up and shared some laughs. The last two miles were challenging as my calf muscles really started feeling tight. But, again, Lisa’s pacing was perfect and I finished right where I wanted to finish time-wise. Then, just like that, I officially entered the Taper Time zone.
I’m pretty sore from the run, so I think I may do more walking than running this week to allow those muscles time to repair. Meantime, I’ll work on repeating daily affirmations: “You’re fast enough, you’re strong enough, and you will crush this thing with a new PR.”