According to Pete Pfitzinger, the mastermind behind the marathon training schedule I’m following, this week was supposed to be the first week of a three-week long taper leading into my marathon. Sure, the overall mileage was reduced a bit, but at the end of the week, it sure didn’t feel like I was tapering. My numbers for the week were 91 kilometres (57 miles) of running and 841 meters (2 760 ft) of climbing spread across 7 hours and 16 minutes of running. I also did an hour and fifteen minutes on the bike.
Monday was a total rest day, and Tuesday I decided to bike both to and from work. It went fine, but I definitely noticed it both in my groin as I was biking and in my thighs later. This made me decide to be quite careful about doing any more biking in the final weeks before my marathon. Later that evening, I did 12k easy with six strides at the end.
On Wednesday I was supposed to do a 20k Medium Long Run, but I ended up having to cut it short on account of stomach troubles. Very annoying, but I made up for the lost miles the next day when I felt decent and did 16k with six strides to close off the run. Friday comprised only a short 8k recovery session in the heat of the afternoon, as I was preparing to race on Saturday.
My training plan calls for a final tune-up race between 8-15k just two weeks out from your goal race. Luckily enough, there was local a 10k trail race (well, 10.3k actually) on this weekend, and I penciled that into my plan. It was a hot and heavy race, with the sun shining from clear skies, and a fair bit of climbing on the trails. Still, I managed to put in a very decent effort, and even if my time was not what I was hoping for, I was pleased to come in at 8th place overall in the race. In the next couple of days, I will publish a full race report, so stay tuned for that.
One of the challenges Pfitzinger’s marathon plans throws at you is a Saturday tune-up race followed by a Sunday long run. This was the second time I did that combination over the past 16 weeks, and it is challenging. My original plan was to get up early and hopefully get a head start on the heat, but alas, sleeping in on a Sunday was just too tempting. As such, I ended up doing the 27k in the middle of the day. My legs actually felt decent, but my body overall was definitely not fresh, so I settled in at a pretty comfortable pace. After the stomach cramps ended my run the Sunday before, I also paid extra attention to getting my hydration and gel strategy right this time around, and I did.
Afterwards, I felt pretty tired and banged up, and more than ready to really start tapering. This coming week my running volume will be further reduced with another 20 kilometres, and I hope that this will have me feeling fresher and lighter on my feet.