Bring on the Taper!

Today, I had a run that totally kicked all negativity from last week’s run to the curb! You see, I had taken one extra rest day (ran Monday, took Tuesday off, then had regularly scheduled Wednesday rest day) so this morning, I was ready to go today!

It had rained (and thunderstormed) heavily last night, so the temperature was perfect – mid 50s – and the humidity miraculously lower than usual (this would be PERFECT marathon weather). Since it *had* been in the high 70s/80s the last few days, when I walked Dug earlier this morning, I thought that a long sleeve shirt was appropriate.

Warm up

Mile 1 – 8:49  / Mile 2 – 8:40

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 7.20.56 PM

I left the house feeling pretty good – this was a little faster than a usual warm up (I usually aim for a 9-10 min pace) but I chalked that up to the two days of rest. It was windy, so the long sleeve felt good, but after Mile 1 (this never fails) I realized that I was gonna warm up awfully fast. On top of that, my right arch felt kinda achy…and it dawned on me that this was probably the perfect opportunity to swap out my current pair of Pure Flow 2’s, so I’d have a “newer” pair for the marathon. So, I looped home, changed tops and changed shoes.

Mile 3 – 7:55

This was the first time that I attempted a GMP (or faster) pace so close to home. I know! It sounds weird, but the rail trail is 1.67 miles away, so I usually “easy run” out to the trail, then “open up” once I’m in that “safer” environment (no traffic, curbs, etc). So, this was a nice surprise! Since it didn’t feel “hard,” I decided that I’d merge a “hyrbid” workout since Tuesday would have been 6×1 and today was scheduled to be tempo.

Mile 4 – 7:51

The cloud cover was breaking a little, but the temperature was still as close to ideal as I have had all training season. I knew I could keep this pace up, and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face.

Mile 5 – 7:47 / Mile 6 – 7:42 / Mile 7 – 7:42 / Mile 8 -7:52 / Mile 9 – 7:46

These miles flew by – I couldn’t believe how great I felt – but I also didn’t want to over do it, with the marathon just 10 days away. My “strength” pace is 7:50 and my “tempo” (as defined by Hansons) is 8:01, so my goal was to hover in the “in-between” zone…with one caveat: you see, after a glance down at my watch, I saw that I was on pace to totally obliterate my 10 Mile race PR of 1:26, earned wayyyyyy back, three years ago. GAME ON, TEN MILE PR!

Mile 10 – 7:38

I held on to a “comfortable” fast pace for the majority of the mile, but at about .6-.7, I inserted a few surges, and with that sub-7:40 mile, I DID IT!! 1:19:46!! BAM!

Mile 11 – 7:48 / Mile 12 – 7:40

After I hit Mile 10, I took a quick breather (water fountains FTW) and then set back out. I wanted to be around the “strength pace,” but surprised myself with these two – when I felt a little tired, I told myself, “think about how you GET to run fast now, when you’re gonna have to run easier the next nine days.” Whee, that worked!!

Cool down

Mile 13 – 9:14 / Mile 14 – 8:56

I always find it calming and centering to cool down a “harder” run, and this just felt right at the end. I was SO glad that I had decided to make that early “costume change” and along with my distance confidence booster at the 50K last weekend, I couldn’t help but feel this wave of encouragement surrounding the marathon next weekend.

Again, I am thankful to enter into a taper healthfully, and happily. Through today, I’ve logged 279 miles in 9 weeks, and I feel a lot less frenzied than I did before Space Coast, so I almost look forward to the taper…since that means it’s almost time to journey to Jacksonville!

How long do you typically taper, if you do?


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