Well, it's official. I am in taper mode. From here on out, the goal is not necessarily to become more fit, but to avoid injuring myself and ruining the fitness I've gained over the past 15 weeks. Physically, the next three weeks should give my body time to repair the damage I've done, leaving me stronger than ever to tackle the Colorado Marathon course on May 4th. Mentally, this will be the longest, most stressful, paranoia filled 21 days of my running life. Did I train enough, did I train too much, is that twinge in my knee something serious, am I tapering too much, am I tapering too little, am I getting sick, is it going to be too hot on race day, is it going to be too cold on race day?.....all of these, and countless others, are questions that will dominate my mind on a daily basis for the next three weeks. The training is done, now the taper madness begins...
Speaking of training, my last big week before taper went well:
Monday - 6 miles recovery in the morning and another 4 in the afternoon.
Tuesday - 6 miles recovery in the morning and another 4.2 in the afternoon.
Wednesday - 12 miles including 6x1200m intervals. This is the first interval workout of this training cycle that I've done early in the morning and I felt like my speed was affected by it. I just can't run as fast at 5 AM as I can in the afternoon. Regardless, the workout itself still went pretty well, I just felt like I could have done it faster if my body had been more awake.
Thursday - 15 miles in the morning and another 4 in the afternoon. I ran the 15 in a cold rain that was about 2 degrees away from being snow, and actually did finally turn to snow during the last mile.
Friday - 8 miles w/ 8x100m strides. This was one of the best runs I've had recently. Right from the start, the pace, which was quicker than normal (7:30-7:45), felt effortless and I actually hit my marathon pace on one mile and went 15 seconds faster than MP on another without even thinking about it.
Saturday - 6 miles recovery in the morning and another 4 in the afternoon. Can you tell that this is the bread and butter recovery workout in Pfitz's high mileage plan?
Sunday - 22 miles. This was my last run of 20+ miles for this training cycle. A week of unseasonably cold weather finally broke and the highs were in the 60s....I actually got to do a long run in shorts and a t-shirt and ended up with a sunburn on my forehead because I neglected to wear a cap or sunblock. The run itself went well. I felt like I was holding back the entire time (except when I finally cut loose and picked up the pace the last two miles) but still averaged 8:06 miles, which is about 10-15 seconds faster per mile than I normally run my long runs.
Total - 91.2 miles
So, from here on out, the weekly mileage will decrease and it's mostly easy or recovery pace runs with a couple of days of speed thrown in to keep my legs sharp. I am making one change to the schedule this Saturday, when I'm planning on running in a local 10K instead of doing the scheduled 10 miles with 5 at tempo pace (I figure that it's virtually the same workout, so why not get a t-shirt, and maybe an AG award, out of the deal?). This will be my one and only chance to run a tune-up race before Colorado and I don't want to pass that opportunity up. Plus, I really want to make that 10K PR that I set in a time trial last week official by doing it in a real race. And who knows, maybe I'll even get myself a sub-40 in the process...