So technically week 16 is the first “taper” week, but my week wasn’t anything like a taper. I still ran a total of 43 miles for the week and had some tough runs to finish before actually tapering.
As I mentioned in my mid-week post last week, my Wednesday run felt tougher than I thought it should. The reality was I still wasn’t recovered from my monster long run and by the end of the week I was feeling better. I still had a huge challenge on the weekend – back to back goal marathon pace runs. I was more nervous about these runs than my monster long run the previous weekend. I’ve pretty much established I can run for a really long time at an easy pace (and have thoughts of an Ultra in the future, but that’s another post for another time), but hammering out the miles back to back made me nervous. When I spoke to my coach at the beginning of the week he told me to go out on Saturday and get it done, but then check how I feel Sunday and plan to turn back earlier than scheduled if needed.
Saturday’s weather was okay, in the mid-50s but more humid than I prefer. I headed out on these miles solo so I could focus and get them done. The first 9 miles felt really hard, but the last 3 just flew by with ease. The more distance I do the longer it seems to take for me to get warmed up and in a rhythm and I think that’s true for most distance runners. I was really happy to be done with that run, but my legs were sore and tired. I have been well aware that this marathon is going to be really tough, but Saturday left me with mixed emotions of “Oh my gosh this is going to be so hard what the heck am I doing?” but also, “I think I can stay tough and do this.” As I said on Instagram, marathon training is funny like that.
I focused on recovery Saturday afternoon and evening and spent some time trying to work out some knots in my calves. My right calf was a mess! When I woke up Sunday morning it was still tight and sore, but I slipped on a compression sleeve and decided to give it a go. I did plan to cut my run a little shorter than planned and ended up turning back a mile early. It was actually a bit warmer, around 60 on Sunday, but it stayed cloudy the whole time so it was fine. Once I got going my legs felt fatigued, but not bad. The Sunday run actually felt a little more natural and easy, but by the end of it my legs were toast. I focused on stretching, rolling, icing, compressing, and finished the evening with a quick 15 soak in the bath to loosen things up. I also have an appointment with my chiropractor this week to get some ART action going on to help loosen them up some more.
Now in week 17 I am finally truly tapering. My mileage is falling back down below 40 miles to where it was on week one of training. WEEK ONE. I seriously cannot believe how much mileage I have put in during this training. While it wasn’t anything spectacular, I have been running consistent mileage 6 days a week for the past 15 weeks. It truly blows my mind what our bodies are capable of doing.
Since the taper pains and problems are in full effect I’m not only trying to keep my legs and body healthy, but also trying to keep my mind at ease. I have a lot going on this week that should help me keep my focus off of freaking out about race day.
Two weeks to go and then it’s the glorious off season which also means the holidays are coming!