So this phase of my training plan, it’s…not my favorite. For four weeks pre-taper, you run fewer miles but with more intensity. Instead of a Thursday medium-long run, there is a 40-minute tempo. Fridays there’s sprinting. Sundays are for 10-12 miles at close to marathon pace. I’ve been having trouble approaching this phase mindfully; I don’t really enjoy the runs and just want race day to get here already! Lesson: my next marathon training plan (if there ever is one) will not be six months long. I think what I have is more a case of overall Plan Fatigue and less to do with the workouts themselves.
Anyway, here’s how the last three weeks went down. I’ve approached the workouts with the mindset that the most important thing is to be in good shape for the long Sunday marathon-pace workouts; at least this aspect was a success. Now I’m officially tapering!
Week of 8/21-8/27:
Sunday, 8/21: Ran a half marathon as a workout! This was a really good run. The weather cooperated – it was very humid, but only about 65 degrees at the start – and the energy from running with a crowd made it surprisingly easy to maintain goal pace. The course was pretty flat with just a few minor inclines, no real hills. I eased into it with a slow first 5km, then did the rest at goal pace.
Monday, 8/22: 6-mile recovery jog. Legs tired, but not dead.
Tuesday, 8/23: Rest day.
Wednesday, 8/24: 7-mile easy fartlek.
Thursday, 8/25: 4-mile out & back, supposed to be at something like half-marathon pace. Managed maybe 1.5 miles at the correct pace? Really quite the slogfest.
Friday, 8/26: 4 miles with 2x (3x100m).
Saturday, 8/27: 3 mile easy jog, 1 hour Pilates mat class.
Total: 37 miles.
Week of 8/28-9/3:
Sunday, 8/28: After a few weeks of very pleasant weather – 70’s and low humidity, mostly – today it was 85 when I started running and over 90 by the time I finished. Oof! I think I did the best I could, given those conditions: started with a 2-mile jog, then worked up to marathon effort (which was about ten seconds per km slower than goal pace today) for the remaining 10 miles. Felt completely wrecked afterward and was thirsty for the next 24 hours.
Monday, 8/29: 6 mile recovery jog. It was still very hot out, and I could feel how running the previous day’s long workout in the heat took so much more out of me than usual.
Tuesday, 8/30: Rest day.
Wednesday, 8/31: 7 mile fartlek. I’ve discovered a route from work to a train station that is fully shaded in the mid-afternoon. Hooray! Almost makes up for the 2-mile-long hill…
Thursday, 9/1: Again with the 40-minute tempo. I’ve obviously convinced myself I can’t do these, because half-marathon pace felt nearly impossible today. Is the hay in the barn yet?
Friday, 9/2: 4 miles with 2x(3x100m). My attitude is starting to suck. 4 miles? Might as well just stay home on the couch!
Saturday, 9/3: Jog to Pilates, 1-hour mat class, cannot be arsed to jog the 1.5 miles home and just walk instead.
Total: 33 miles.
Week of 9/4-9/10:
Sunday, 9/4: Time for another longish marathon-pace run! Get up early and travel an hour on the train to run a trail “half marathon” (actually 22 kilometers, so more than half a mile longer than a true half marathon, but who’s counting?). Wow, this was a tough race. Very hilly, and it was super humid out. My legs were trashed about halfway through. “Marathon pace” didn’t really happen, but I’m hoping the training effect was similar. The surroundings were lovely, and the organizers did a really nice job, even serving mimosas afterward. Which is now officially my favorite post-workout drink.
Monday, 9/5: My quads were sore after the previous day’s hill adventures, so I took it really easy with a half-hour jog and lots of foam rolling.
Tuesday, 9/6: Rest day.
Wednesday, 9/7: 4 mile easy fartlek. Not feeling great today. Very nauseous.
Thursday, 9/8: I was so nauseous all day that I didn’t even try to run. My son was sick with a high fever and he felt like complete garbage, so maybe I was fighting off whatever he had?
Friday, 9/9: Kiddo still sick; I spent the whole day cuddling with him on the sofa and did not run. “The hay is in the barn” is officially my new mantra.
Saturday, 9/10: Last long hard run of the training cycle! The only race I could find was a 10-mile cross country one. Again, it was very hilly and encompassed an impressively wide variety of surfaces: dirt, rocks, sand, cow fields, cobblestones…I hit “marathon pace” on the 1-kilometer stretch of asphalt toward the end. This was probably not the ideal last workout for someone with a major marathon time goal, but it was great fun and I have no regrets. And now: Taper!
Total: 30 miles. It is what it is.