This past week was the start of my three week taper for the Frederick Marathon on May 4. It will be my first marathon since I ran Columbus as a college freshman in 1987. It will also be the first time I run a marathon with a target time (2:50-2:55 and hoping to break 2:50 if I feel good in the second half) and a goal of placing. I have been training with this event in mind for over a year now and Im having a hard time believing it will happening in less than two weeks. The first week of the taper period is not that much different than most of my previous weeks, it just has a much shorter long run. Sort of a let down, but I felt pretty good by the end of it. Here it is:
Monday A relaxed 8 miler on a sunny day. I am still recovering from a 5K race two days earlier.
Tuesday An hour elliptical session. I feel tired and reaching my target distance for the time is a major struggle. I am concerned that Wednesdays tempo run will not go well.
Wednesday An 8 mile tempo run. Wow! I have an absolutely amazing run today and knock almost 2 minutes off my previous training course record. That seems a staggering amount of time to drop.
Thursday 40 minutes on the elliptical in reverse (+ 15 minutes forward for a cool down). This workout goes well and I easily surpass my target distance. I thought I might be tired, but I often feel strong the day after a hard workout; its the second day after that usually nails me.
Friday An 8 mile run. This one also goes better than expected. Im surprised how effortlessly the miles go by (and how quickly given the ease). Im starting to think that Wednesday could have been one of those rare breakthrough workouts.
Saturday A 12 miler; my long run for the week (a significant drop from the 16-22 milers that made up the bulk of the weekly long runs). The weather was fantastic: 80 degrees and sunny. I moved easily through the first half of the run. For the second half of the run I was doing laps at the local community college (each lap is 1.11 miles) and there was an ongoing walk to raise money for Diabetes research on my usual path. I should have found somewhere else to run, but I am a creature of habit. I simply work harder weaving through the walkers as I cross to run on the grass shoulder when passing. I probably exerted too much effort and Im pretty tired by the end. I get home and jump in the tub for a 20 minute cold water soak of the legs.
Sunday An 8 mile run. I have fun running in a steady rain storm. On a side note, this morning my seasonal allergies flared up for the first time this year. Im really hoping this doesnt have any effect on my training or race. What a disappointment that would be!
Overall, this was a very good week. I had a great run on Wednesday and seem to have had little difficulty bouncing back from such a hard workout. This coming week marks the first real cut back in mileage and Im looking forward to having a little extra time eat my lunch each day.