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Time for Taper: My legs need the rest, my mind needs the confidence

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5ksandcabernets: Time for Taper: My legs need the rest, my mind needs the confidence

5ksandcabernets

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Time for Taper: My legs need the rest, my mind needs the confidence

If anyone would have told me before I joined Team Rogue that I'd survive 8 runs of 20 miles or more including 3 runs of at least 23 miles; that I'd survive 10 weeks where I ran at least 55 miles including 6 weeks of more than 60 miles; that I'd survive a 16-week program where I averaged 55 miles a week....

If anyone would have told me all this, I'd have taken it right then and been happy, happy that I was primed for a marathon PR.

But expectations can turn happiness into self doubt.

And that's what I'm feeling today. No, not that I won't PR my marathon in two weeks. If I can't run 26.2 miles faster than 3:53, then something is wrong.

But I'm hoping for a 3:20, which is what I need to qualify for Boston. And after today's run, which is the third 23-plus mile run I've done in the last four weeks, my legs and my confidence are feeling a bit shaky.

Today's workout had us do a 1.5 mile warm up, then run 20 miles at 20 seconds slower than marathon goal pace. There was water at Mile 5, 10, 15, and 20, and we could take a 2 to 5 minute recovery after Mile 10.

For me, that meant running 8:00-miles. I took the workout as more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I've had problems "going out too fast," in some races and workouts, so I wanted to make sure I stayed within the 8:00 m/m range, give or take 5-10 seconds.

I stayed on pace the first 15 miles. Here are the splits for the first 15 miles:
8:02.....7:55........7:58...........7:52.........7:51
8:02.....7:53........7:59...........7:57.........8:05
7:58......7:57.......7:56...........7:58.........8:00

My legs didn't want to cooperate during the last 5 miles of the workout. They were tight, leaking glycogen, and worse, I was becoming dehydrated. I took a GU and two thermolyte tablets at each water stop (which were spaced every 5 miles), but that didn't help my energy. At one point, I even stopped sweating. My hands and face were bone dry.
Here were the splits for the last 5 miles of the workout:
8:46..........8:46...........8:54........9:10.......9:05
We actually ran out of water after the last water stop and so I stopped at a gas station, saw a guy using a water hose to fill his radiator and asked if I could borrow it. "Sure," he said. I guess the good thing is that I stayed on pace for the most part during the first 3/4ths portion of the workout.

Still, here is what has happened to me over the last three 23-plus mile runs.

Aug. 29 race prep: I cramped and had to stop on Mile 24 of a 27-mile workout which featured 9 miles at MGP, 5 miles of steep hills, 1 mile at 5K pace on the track, and 6 miles on the track running paces that ranged from MGP to 10k pace.
Sept. 5. long run: After completing the first 21 miles of a 24-mile run in 8:20 pace, cramps and low energy slowed my last three miles to 11:30 min/mile pace
Today: First 15 miles in 7:58 pace. Last 5 miles in 8:56 pace.

This run wrapped up a 58-mile week. I'm tired. My legs have no spring in them. None. Nada.

I'm ready to taper and hope two weeks is enough time to restore the speed and freshness I had in my legs before I began this 16-week ordeal.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is what the taper is all about -- your legs will be fresh again. Just be sure you do not run your mileage too fast (as you've admitted yourself you tend to do) and you will have nice fresh legs for Portland.

September 19, 2009 at 3:57 PM  
OpenID austinmetronome said...

You've put in all the work and you've run well most of the season remember that. With the cramping issues you seem to have nutrition and hydration (including electrolytes) during the week may be something to focus on. Take it easy for the next two weeks and focus on the good runs not the ones like today that didn't work out perfectly, you'll rock it at Portland.

September 19, 2009 at 5:50 PM  
Blogger lindsay said...

i hear you on the self-doubt. try to stay positive and not overanalyze too much. you've had some very strong runs. do you have any ideas what could have caused the crash in the last 5 miles? what was your nutrition/hydration like the day before/morning of this run? were you taking in fluids early and often during the run? focus on "fixing" that to keep your mind preoccupied. you've definitely put in a lot of work! i don't think a BQ is impossible. believe!

September 20, 2009 at 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Just catching up on your blog and I am so excited for you--both for the impending marathon and job! Congrats!

September 20, 2009 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Ulyana said...

Is it silly to say: ENJOY your last two weeks of unemployement???? :)

I say, take advantage of this rest time, and you'll surprise yourself. We all can't wait :)

September 21, 2009 at 9:55 AM  

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