With two weeks until race day this has been the first week of real noticeable tapering. It has felt odd, as it always does, after weeks of high mileage it suddenly does not feel like I am doing enough and there is a lot more time to overthink things. I just have to manage these feelings though and trust the training that I have already been completed, and focus on the important day which is approaching.
MONDAY: Body Pump class
TUESDAY: a typical 'taper crazy' run where it all just seemed stupidly hard. The run was only five miles but I felt like I had no energy to run any further if I had actually needed to. Needless to say the fact that this was an interval run made it extra tough, and my plan was for 10 x 400m with 100m recoveries. I may as well have forgotten about the recoveries though as there was no way I actually ran 100m despite programming this into my Garmin - it was more like a few footsteps! This made the 400m reps feel almost one run, which was physically hard and messed with my head too. As you can probably tell, it was a bit of a run to forget!
WEDNESDAY: a much better feeling run today. I had 6 easy miles on my plan, however as I felt so much more energised compared to yesterday, I struggled to rein myself back. I finished with an average pace of 7:48 min/mile - much too fast. Body Pump class after.
THURSDAY: another run where I really did not exert much self control over my pacing. I ran five miles with the middle three miles supposedly at half marathon pace. My splits were 8.22, 7.36, 7.21, 7.35 and 8.08 min/mile - not my half marathon pace at all! As I sat at home reflecting post run I knew I needed to really focus on taking things easier from now on, I had come too far to risk burning myself out last minute.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: even before having stern words with myself about slowing down a bit, my friend and I had mutually agreed to run this week's Lincoln parkrun together and at a nice steady pace; as opposed to our usual 'all out' attitude. I was pleased to have my friend's support with this, as even stood chatting before the 9am start I could feel I was beginning to itch to bolt off that start line and forget any plans to be careful.
I am pleased to say I stuck to our plan though, and my friend and I slotted in a few rows back in the mass huddle at the start. As we started running I instantly began enjoying myself and forgot any desire to be racing around the course (see images). Our first loop was a gentle 8:42 min/mile, and whilst we did gradually speed up for the second two laps at 7.56 and 7.32 min/mile, it still felt comfortable and it was probably the first time ever I have run negative splits at parkrun! I will admit I could not resist a little sprint finish at the end, and even my friend encouraged me on, probably seeing the childish enthusiasm on my face! I finished in a steady 24:11 - just what I knew I needed to do.
SUNDAY: the last long (ish) run before race day. It did not feel long at all and it was almost a run completed on autopilot. As has been tradition throughout all my training, I ran with my friend at my side, and we checked off the paths which form one of our old favourite ten mile routes without much conscious thought or real effort. Before I knew it the run was ending and I was faced with the prospect of actually have a Sunday left to appreciate for the first time in a long while! Today's run felt comfortable at 8.21 min/mile pace; with one week to go until race day this last long run can sometimes feel awful and cause doubts to creep in, so I was happy not to experience this. I feel marathon ready, not over confident as marathons are such an unknown entity, but I know I have done all I can and now just need to use the next six days to taper as well as I have trained...
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...