Friday, April 4, 2014

TAPERING!

I seriously can't believe that race day is only two weeks away!

It's been a long, hard winter, but somehow the time has still managed to fly by.

I did a few things differently this season, and I'm really happy with what I've been able to accomplish, so I wanted to take a minute and reflect back.

I started my training way back in November of last year, following the No Meat Athlete Marathon Road Map. Since I hadn't run in a while (aside from a handful of 2-4 mile runs leading up to the Biggest Loser 5K on November 2nd), I wanted to do the optional 8-week foundation-building part of the training plan to help ease my body back into running.

I think I was just really excited to be training again, because I actually stuck with my training plan this time. I think I've only missed a handful of runs total, which is incredible for me.

And early on I was even WAKING UP EARLY to go for a run. Yeah, never in my life did I think I'd wake up at 6:00am to willingly go for a run before I went into work. Especially not on those cold mornings.

But I did.

Comparing the numbers from this season to my Air Force Marathon training, some noticeable differences pop out.

  • I'm running more often for shorter distances, but hitting about the same total mileage, and
  • I'm getting almost ALL of my runs in, as opposed to just one or two per week.



Back in 2012, I was averaging just 7.5 runs per month! (That's less than 2 runs per week on average.)

This time around I've almost doubled that, averaging 14.2 runs per month, or just over 3 runs per week!

Even though my number of runs has increased significantly, my total mileage was pretty close (up until this past month, that is):


The 42 miles in Month 6 for the AF Marathon INCLUDE the 26 from the race

Of course, I REALLY slacked off on my training in the final 6 weeks last time, and I'm sure that's a big reason why I was hurting on race day. I thought the most important thing was to get my long runs in, so that was my primary focus. Aside from that, I really couldn't find the motivation to get out and run.

I've definitely learned my lesson, so I'm going to do whatever I have to to get all my runs in over the next couple of weeks.

Also, some of my really important long runs were done on the treadmill last time.


Overall, I've done more runs on the treadmill this time around. That's partially because the crazy winter we had, but also because it was just easier to do that with the baby sometimes.

But over the last two months I've only run twice on the treadmill (out of 27 runs), which is wayyy better than the 6/16 from 2 years ago. (And I didn't even have the baby excuse back then!)

Lastly, I'm doing more hills.

This new plan incorporates hill work, which I've never done before. But even though I haven't been getting in as many of those workouts as I should, I'm still logging a lot of climbing thanks to a couple of big hills at the park right by our house.


I just wrapped up my peak week this past weekend, and I've been "noticing" my left knee here and there. It doesn't hurt, but it feels as if it's on the verge -- like if I land the wrong way it'll start hurting like it has in the past. Luckily it doesn't happen often, and when it does it's brief, so I'm hoping that logging my runs and keeping up with my strength training will continue to keep the injuries at bay.

Peak week for me ended on Sunday with a pretty good 20 mile run at the park.

For my past few long runs, I've really had a hard time getting going. The thought of running 16, 18, or 20 miles seems so daunting that I don't even want to start.

Fortunately that feeling goes away after a few miles, but pretty much every weekend I question why I ever wanted to do this again. And while I'm happy to be tapering, I'm pretty nervous about the big day. Somehow, I just don't feel ready.

But I know I've trained, and I know deep down I'm ready for that redemption I've been craving.

I honestly have no idea how close I'll be to hitting my 4 hour goal. That would be a 9:15/mile average pace, and I know that long runs are supposed to be around 30 seconds slower per mile, but mine have been averaging even slower than that:

Date Miles Average Pace
2/16 14.00 10:30
3/1 16.02 10:11
3/15 18.01 9:51
3/30 20.18 10:06


Ultimately for me, the most important thing is finishing this one strong.

For funsies, I'll leave you with a map from my last long run. It's safe to say I know the Beckley Creek Park very well! (I can't wait for them to open some of the other sections!)

This is what 20 miles looks like. Make sure you click it so you can see it zoomed in a bit. :)


If you're ever worried about not being able to finish a run, remember that the most important part is starting. In my book, it's okay to stop early if you have to -- you can always make it up on another day. But usually once you start you find reasons to keep going.

And it really is amazing what our bodies are capable of.

As always, thanks for reading!

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