I made it through my final taper week with some valuable lessons learned, and hit my “A- goal” in my marathon on Sunday. One year into serious training, I am still figuring out what works best for my body. This season, I learned that a three week taper is too long for me, and two weeks would be better, at least in a solid season like this one where I felt strong and not too beat up at the end. The problem with a three week taper is that in the fear of losing aerobic fitness, I increased the amount of my speed work and almost got injured a week before my goal race. Which brings me to my second lesson learned: No speed work for me on marathon week. Here is how the week played out:
Monday — 6.4 miles easy with 6 strides at the the end (8:10 avg pace)
Tuesday — 7.01 miles (7:56 avg pace). I had intended this run to be a 2 mile warm up, then 5 miles at goal marathon pace. My body, however, took longer than 2 miles to warm up to goal marathon pace. Once it warmed up, I felt better and stupidly ran much faster (7:30’s) to get to my goal pace. I say stupidly because my achilles tendon started to bother me during the last half mile of the workout, and I finished it very concerned that I might be injured.
Wednesday — Off. Iced my achilles and did lots of eccentric heel drops.
Thursday — Off. More icing, more eccentric heel drops, and after doing some reading and doing a towel pick up test on my toes, learned that the small toes on my left foot where my achilles hurt are weak. I think this weakness has been allowing my left foot to rotate excessively and stress the achilles. Added various toe strengthening exercises to my routine.
Friday — 4 cautious easy miles, pain free (8:12 avg pace). More eccentric heel drops and toe exercises. Fly to Los Angeles for goal race. Enjoy lovely views of the boats in Marina Del Ray.
Saturday — 5 very easy miles on Venice beach (9:00 avg pace). Heel drops and towel exercises. Enjoy spectacular scenery driving up the Pacific Coast highway and the charming town of Ventura, CA. Eat pre-race dinner of salad, seared foie gras and homemade mac n cheese at Palm 71, a lovely local bistro.
Sunday — ran Ventura Mountains-2-Beach marathon in 3:38:03. Just missed my “A” goal of 3:35 after taking a fall at mile 21, but loved the experience and finished strong (will say more in a race report). Rest and eat!
Weekly total: 48.6 miles