Friday, September 28, 2012

How I'm rockin my "taper"

I've been in an unofficial taper for about 4 weeks now trying to give my body sometime to recover from the Chicago Half on 9/9.

Workouts haven't been too exciting, mileage hasn't been too impressive, and I've just kind of been coasting through with quite a few unorganized workouts that fall along the lines of "run fast to that light post than recover to the next".

Basically it boils down to this...

NO ONE can stay in their best shape for prolonged periods of time. NO ONE. Myself included. 
It burns you out, makes you exhausted, and your fitness begins to backtrack
And believe me, you won't be the exception to this rule no matter how much of a rock star you may think you are.

I wanted nothing more this year than to recreate all that PR magic that 2011 brought, but it didn't happen because I set unrealistic expectations for myself that I've been paying for since April. It's now late September where I was able to do my first 5 mile tempo run for the year last week, 39 weeks in.

Does that mean that I'm not going to ever run a 3:05 marathon or a 1:25 half?
Absolutely not.

It just means that my time frame was off and a year to make these great fitness leaps wasn't realistic for me.

The right decision to make is sometimes the hardest one to make, and for me it was extremely difficult to step back and analyze where I was heading with my running. Turns out that as much as I thought that I was on the right track, I wasn't because I had a bit of tunnel vision for my goals. Running is just running, and sometimes it can be difficult to wrap my head around that.

So I've shelved most of my goals for now.

Right now my priorities are simple:
  • Be as supportive as possible for the man during those 26.2 miles no matter what our clips are
  • Rest as much as possible pre race so that the post race recovery goes as smooth as possible
  • Don't jump into anything else for the year too quickly, instead just let the body slowly progress to gain back speed and fitness that were lost in the early months of the year
  • Take things on a LOGICAL day-to-day basis
  • Let go of mileage expectations, quality is much more important than quantity
  • Have as much fun as one can possibly have while running through the streets of Chicago next Sunday

Today I put in my last "workout" pre-race

400/800/15 mins @ tempo/800/400
Splits: 1:39, 3:04, 6:32 (15 min tempo average), 3:05, 1:29

Being no where NEAR marathon PR shape right now is a good thing for me going into the Chicago Marathon. No pressure, no expectations, and no chance for me to bend the rules and make some kind of pathetic attempt to bust out some half @$$ race that is going to run me into the ground making all the work I've done in the past few months to gain back my fitness null.

The next 9 days will host lots of rest, hoards of nutrients from whole food sources, ample amounts of water, and happy thoughts about running marathon #7 for fun. 

Who else is running the Chicago Marathon next weekend? What are your race day goals?

If you're heading to the marathon expo on Friday 10/5, stop by the Asics booth and say hi. I'll be there all day.


  1. I'm going to be out on the course at mile 17! I'm going to be wearing something bright (either tank or tee) and I'll try to be by the marker sign on the east side of the street. I'll have some Gu, Kleenex, and other stuff with me so feel free to shout out if you or the hubby need anything!

  2. Somewhere between 3:04 and 3:10. I guess it just depends on lots of factors. It is difficult to figure out my true "even" pace, so I am going to run negative splits. My plan: 7:10/mile pace to start. If I am feeling good at the half mark, drop to 7:00 pace, then at the 20 mile mark 6:55 (if my legs allow). If things don't work out, my goal is just remain at 7:10/mile the entire race. In any case, I will do my best to smile and high five people! Good advice on eating good stuff next week!

  3. This is my first-ever marathon, so my goals are as follows:

    Goal 1: Cross the finish line in one piece with a smile on my face before the time cut-off.

    Goal 2: Finish sub-5:00.

    I've been praying for months that we'll have good weather next Sunday!!!

  4. This is my first full marathon, and likely my last due to knee issues.
    So my goals are to FINISH STRONG, and in a sub:5. But finishing is key...

  5. I won't be running, but working the 2nd aid station and then going out to around mile 20 to cheer. Hopefully I'll see you running!

  6. good luck, I am sure you will do great!

  7. Good luck to you both!
    What a perfect post btw, I had a bit of PR magic last year myself and this year my body just wasn't up for it. It took me awhile but I have accepted it and have way cut back on the miles and workouts. I am feeling so much better and am going into a 5k today with no expectations

  8. I am!! I'm hoping for a sub-4:00. However, like yourself, I have also been tapering for a month due to sheer laziness (and exhaustion). Please tell me I'll be ok!

  9. I can't even begin to tell you how refreshing it is to see someone recognize that you can't stay at the top of your game 100% of the time! And your patience is admirable--it takes a lot of maturity to get there. I hope loads of people read this post!

  10. I'm sooo excited for this weekend! You are going to have an amazing time running with your hubby. It seems like he is killing his training and will definitely own the streets of Chicago. :) this will also be my lucky #7 marathon. The weather forecast is looking spectacular for Sunday :)

    This post made me feel 100% better about my current situation. I wanted to be in tip top shape for a while post fox valley, but my body had other plans. After reading this post I'm no longer feeling guilty about taking a well deserved break- after almost 25 weeks of solid training. I'm rocking a 3 week taper where I might not run a step until game day to let the ankle heal. Eek!!

    I think L and I will see you Friday at the expo.