Post 13: Tapering

This time next week, I will be recovering from the Grandfather Mountain Marathon. Hopefully, the gratification of a successful run eases the pain and soreness.

In the meantime, that leaves seven days left to prepare for the race. An interesting time period where racers do their best to “taper” and rest, but often sneak in a few extra miles to make up for not training quite hard enough or simply due to restlessness.

This will be my eighth race of marathon distance or longer. Through my experience, I’ve figured out what works for me, despite what the countless internet marathon training plans spout out. And believe me, it’s not all that scientific.

The key?

Live your life, rest as best you can, and hold off on large amounts of soda and beer on this night before the race.

Some plans call for extended tapering…meaning you peak in mileage 2-3 weeks out from the race and then back-off from there in an effort to build-up and hoard energy until race day where you can unleash it on the race course.

Other plans include continuing to build up in mileage until the week prior to the event and resting for most of the week leading up to the race.

Personally, I don’t believe in any one strategy. I have run races where I “rested” for three days prior to the race and have run races where I did some strenuous exercise even the day before the race.

Professional athletes may have the luxury of scripting every hour of every day to their training plan, but most fat guys don’t have that option. We train when we can around our lives. Training for this race, for instance, had to be flexible around a 10-day European vacation in the middle of peak training days just 2-3 weeks out from the race.

For a mountain marathon, this race requires strong and durable legs to endure the sustained uphill mileage of the route. Other than a handful of downhill segments, this course is predominantly uphill from start to finish…a difficult route to find in Raleigh, NC.

Frankly, I don’t know if I’m strong enough at this point. I have no doubt that I will finish, but a fast-ish time may be difficult to achieve.

This week, my focus is on resting my legs, eating somewhat sensibly, and trying not to get sick before the weekend.

Training Recap (6/26-7/2)
# of Runs – 4
Total Miles – 38
Long Run – 15 miles
Strength Workouts – 1

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