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Taper Time: It’s all downhill from here…

October 22nd, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Uncategorized

I survived the first week of the taper! Sunday’s Half-Marathon marked 3 weeks to race day, and the beginning of the gradual decline in intensity and mileage.

After many, many hard weeks of training, I’m a bit relieved. The end is near. My goal is (finally) in reach. November 6th used to feel so far away- especially through all those humid, sweaty runs in July and August- and it was hard to visualize race day. September rolled around, the fall air began to hit, and upping my long runs helped draw the marathon a bit closer. And now, we’re suddenly nearing the end of October and it’s in sight. How did that happen? I’ve logged three 20-mile runs, pushed through weekly workouts at half-marathon and marathon pace, reached a new highest weekly mileage, and I feel ready. Well, most of the time.

The great part is… all the really hard work is behind me. But that’s also the scary part. I second guess myself. Did I do enough? Were my runs long enough? Was my pace fast enough? I’m out of time to put in the hard work. These few weeks of tapering will be about getting my legs fresh, staying healthy, resting up, and mentally preparing. While these things are all a very important part of race preparation, it’s difficult not to question how you could have done more during training. Stretched more, iced more, ran longer, ran faster, slept more, ate cleaner, took iron more, lifted more, worked on my core strength more.

I think this is totally natural. No matter your ability, there is always room to doubt yourself. No matter your training, there is always the question if you could have done more. It’s like that in all areas of life: did I study enough for that test? Did I prepare enough for my big client presentation? Did I spend enough time with my family? Did I do enough to show my friends I care?

I need to focus on looking back at all I’ve accomplished over the last 3 months, and trust in that. I feel confident that I’ve done the best I could in my training given the time and energy I was able to dedicate. I am thankful to have stayed healthy and injury-free this entire training cycle. I have woken up earlier than the sun, run faster and farther than comfort, and am ready. Sub-3:00 is no longer a lofty goal, it’s in reach. The preparation is done. It’s all up to feeling good, running smart, staying strong, and digging deep on race day.

Hopefully, crossing the finish line as happy (and satisfied) as last year! This time, a few minutes faster.

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This week, I hit 49.5 miles.

  • Sun: 13.1 miles- Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco: 1:32:09
  • Mon: Off
  • Tues: Flew back from CA on redeye. 4 miles easy after landing before work.
  • Weds: 4.5 miles in CP
  • Thurs: 2 warmup, 5.16 tempo (6:44 average pace), 2.5 cooldown
  • Fri: 2 miles shakeout
  • Sat: 16.5 miles total, including last 10 miles of the marathon course (!)

Next week, I’ll probably hit around 35-38 miles, and then only around 22-25 miles the week before the marathon. Hooray!

To rest, I’ll be keeping it pretty low key these next two weekends. Last night, I went to the Meatball Shop with Dan for dinner. The wait was less than an hour, surprising for 7 p.m. on a Friday. Like last time I went, I decided to get the sliders again so I could choose multiple ball/sauce varieties. I chose the spicy pork with spicy meat sauce, veggie with parmesan cream sauce, and the special ball- chicken cordon bleu with mushroom sauce! With a side of carrot and chive risotto, steamed spinach and the market salad with arugula, pomegranate seeds and persimmon. Yum!

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And of course, no dinner is complete without dessert. Special apple cinnamon ice cream with special oatmeal cherry cookies. Amazing.

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No, these hairy arms are not mine.

This morning, I met a few of my CPTC teammates on 59th and 1st to run the last 10 miles of the marathon course. I ran about 4.5 miles through the park to meet, and 2 miles easy after we finished to run back to my apartment. Afterwards, I refueled with a giant mug of Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice coffee, and steel cut oatmeal mixed with pumpkin and protein powder. Now that it’s finally feeling like fall, I’m in the mood for warm, flavorful food. MMM.

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I have to run a few errands this afternoon before fun evening plans. I can’t wait to sleep in tomorrow!

How do you stay confident during a taper? Tips to trust in your training? Any fun weekend plans?

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13 Responses

  • Nice work! I am running a half tomorrow as my last long run before tapering. Hoping to finish in 1:47, my goal marathon split!

    I am so getting my hands on some TJs pumpkin spice coffee when I’m there.

  • Hooray! So excited to read this post. I think half the battle is *feeling* ready and reminding yourself that you’ve done the work. I cannot wait to see you run in 2 weeks! I’m already picking out my spectating spot…

  • Meggie says:

    A wild Saturday night out trekking through Chinatown and eating a lot of ice cream, the best food ever made, with the best group of girls ever assembled = weekend plans.

    I kind of try to look at tapering as “part of the deal.” I like to think of my body as a sponge during that time, absorbing all that hard work I’ve put in the past weeks/months. Well, granted I’ve only tapered twice for a marathon, but that’s how I’m looking at it this time, for sure. And it looks like I might be doing a lot of resting this time around.

  • Sarah K says:

    Pumpkin spice coffee! I need to get some of that! It could fuel me through my weekend plans, which consist of studying for midterms till my brains ooze out my ears.
    Good luck with your taper! Whenever I start to worry about a race I look back at my training log and admire how many miles I’ve run to get me where I am. Knowing that I’ve enjoyed the hundreds of miles I spent training for a race regardless of what happens makes me feel calm and confident (or at least, more so than I would be).

  • sofia says:

    love your attitude toward this race! you’re so gonna rock it with this mindset. the hard work has been done – now you’ve just gotta take it easy and let it be:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdopMqrftXs

    yes. i am super lame. but as cliche as it is, this song is a helpful reminder ;)

    loved seeing you last night! taper run soon? holler at me.

  • Trader Joe’s makes pumpkin spice coffee? Looks like that will be added to this week’s grocery list. Thanks for the tip.

    Good luck with the rest of your taper!

  • Kelly says:

    First off, that cookie sandwich looks epic. I think we need a return trip to the Meatball Shop soon.

    Nice week of training! I have doubts floating through my head too,and the taper just makes it so much easier to focus on them! But, you’ve definitely put in the work and I think will kill your goal. So excited for you!

    Also, so much fun with you last night. Pizza and Chinatown and ice cream FTW. :)

  • BALLS! Those look as tasty as last time. :)

    The taper is always tricky for me in that I feel like I should be doing more to prepare for race day, but I know that I’ve done all the work I can do and that anything I do now will be more hurtful than harmful. When I was freaking out before Twin Cities, it was super helpful to go back through my training records/blog and see that, yes, I’ve done tons of work for this marathon and I am ready to take on the 26.2…and take it on strong. You know you’ve done the work, you know you’re ready, and since you’ve run a marathon before, some of those “omg, can I REALLY do that??” thoughts are gone. (Only some of them…I’ve ran nine and still stand on the line thinking, “Who thought this was a good idea???) Rest up, sleep, eat…and in less than two weeks we’ll be in Staten Island ready to go!

  • Page says:

    Wahoo! All of your hard work is done and you ARE ready! We’ll be cheering you along the entire way and that sub-3 is in you! Your taper plan sounds smart – go get em!

  • Celia says:

    You are so ready to get that sub-3!!! So excited for you! I am sort of in taper-limo right now coming off another marathon but when I start to second guess things I try to imagine training runs I have felt good on. I need to try to embrace the happy free feeling I get in training because I have a tendency to freak myself out during the race unlike in training when I am happy and relaxed…

  • Corey says:

    I think those kind of feelings of doubt are absolutely normal…and it sounds like you have a really good grasp on it and insight into whats behind those feelings. You are so ready to crush this marathon, Lindsay, and you have every reason to be confident! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!



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