This week I started my taper. With the hardest work behind me, it’s time to gradually cut back on the mileage and intensity and let my body recover so that I can be in prime condition on race day.
I think a lot of runners would say that the taper makes them crazy. They worry that cutting back on miles will hurt their performance, when really the exact opposite is true. At this point there isn’t much else I can do to get faster or stronger. I need to keep running so that I can maintain my fitness, but I’m basically as fast and fit as I’m going to get at this point.
That being said, I feel like I am in a really good place. I have logged all the miles I wanted to and have finished most of my key workouts on pace.
Monday, May 2
Today was an off day. I guess I decided to take the taper thing seriously.
Tuesday, May 3
I ran a 12-mile tempo run, an out-and-back on Lakefront Trail. The goal of my tempo runs is to hit marathon pace or slightly faster. This helps me get used to running not just longer, but faster. The tempo run tonight could not have gone better. I feel like it was one of my strongest runs since I started training for Fargo. All of my splits were faster than marathon goal pace—the last couple much faster. I averaged 6:45 pace for the first 9 miles and crushed the last 3 miles with splits of 6:37, 6:31 and 6:22. What was so exciting to me about this run is not just that I ran it so fast, but that the speed felt effortless. I felt fast, strong and efficient. Runs like this are the best.
Wednesday, May 4
I ran a 4-mile recovery run today after lifting weights.
Thursday, May 5
I ran a speed workout tonight: 4x 1 mile repeats at 9.5 mph (6:18 pace) with 0.5 mile recovery between hard efforts. Officially all of my speed training for Fargo has been logged on a treadmill. I think it has been beneficial as I am able to hit my speed goal exactly.
Friday, May 6
Today was my second off day of the week.
Saturday, May 7
I ran 16 miles for my long run, an out-and-back on Lakefront Trail. The sun was shining but the wind was horrendous. I was downwind the first half but straight into it on the way back. I swear it felt like I was running backwards at times. Generally I try to increase my speed to race goal pace the last one-third of my long runs, but the wind was too strong for me to ramp it up. I stopped looking at my watch and decided my only goal (besides keeping sand and dirt from blowing into my face) would be to finish. What can I say, I’m accustomed to nasty weather on my long runs. I will definitely be ready for anything come race day.
Sunday, May 8
I planned on going for a short recovery run today but the Cubs decided to go 13 innings in their win (4 game series sweep) over the Nationals. It was a glorious day for a ball game! I wrapped up the week running 38 miles. Next week, the taper continues. I will run even fewer miles, continue to focus on my core work and get plenty of rest.