I started tapering last week, and you wouldn't believe it, I feel like crap. You might think I would be worried a week out from my race when my legs are feeling like garbage, but guess what? This is normal for me. I went into my marathon last year feeling the exact same way.
When I was in university I rarely tapered for races because I had very little instruction from coaching staff to do so. Also, my races were much shorter and I didn't see any benefit in dropping my mileage. Well, I've lived and learned. Before a marathon a taper is extremely important and beneficial.
For those of you who don't know, tapering is when you drop your mileage before a race and focus on resting. We do this because we are trying to store up energy for race day. According to Susan S. Paul, MS, "physiological
adaptations to training take a minimum of six weeks. Therefore, training
hard during the final two to three weeks before your marathon is not
going to improve your performance. Doing too much during the taper
period can destroy your marathon performance." http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/how-to-taper-correctly
My regular week looks something like this:
Monday: Day off or easy run (8-10 miles)
Tuesday: Interval Workout (8-12 miles)
Wednesday: Easy run (7-10 miles)
Thursday: Tempo run (10-15 miles)
Friday: Easy run (7-10 miles)
Saturday: Easy run or long run (13-24 miles)
Sunday: Long run or easy run (7-10 miles)
My taper week looks something like this:
Monday: Day off
Tuesday: Easy run (4-5 miles)
Wednesday: Easy run (4-5 miles) + Massage
Thursday: 6 mile Tempo @ race pace & test out race gear
Friday: Easy run (3-5 miles)
Saturday: Day off - Travel day
Sunday: Shake out, drills, strides (2-3 miles)
Monday: RACE DAY!!!!!
As I was saying before, my legs are feeling lousy, but I'm not worried. I have trained hard and now I just need to trust my body and my program. I talking to my massage therapist (and past marathoner) about how I always feel lousy when tapering and he said that he found the same thing. We were thinking that it's a little bit because of nerves and a little bit because my body has finally been given a chance to recover.
This week I will be focused on eating healthily, drinking a lot of water and electrolytes. I won't really be carb-loading because my regular diet is extremely high in carbohydrates. There will be pasta and rice eaten, as per usual. If you are interested in learning more about carb-loading: http://m.runnersworld.com/nutrition-for-runners/how-to-carb-load-for-marathon-week?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-RunnersWorld-_-Content-Nutrition-_-CarboLoadRaceWeekend
If I see you this week, please don't ask me if I'm going to win the Boston marathon. That is not my goal. The Boston marathon is won by elite athletes who run around 2 hours and 20 minutes for the women. My goal is to run under 3 hours. Eventually I will try to run faster than that, but I am taking it one reasonable goal at a time at a time.
I will post again before I leave next weekend.