Wanted: Taper Tips

Happy Friday, all!

So, last weekend we tackled the big kahuna in any marathon training plan. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen…

THE 20-MILER IS COMPLETE.

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We just think we’re so clever, lol.

Honestly, it wasn’t our best long run. Granted, it definitely wasn’t the WORST either. We tackled the 20 miles in my old stomping ground of Kenilworth/Cranford, which I loved because there are so many parks and there were tons of people out and about because the weather was BEAUTIFUL.

However, with spring-like temperatures finally here, I could tell right from the beginning that the warmer weather was going to take its toll on my performance. It was only in the 60s, but given the fact that we’ve been training in the 20s, 30s, and 40s all this time, it felt like a HUGE temperature difference. And ya’ll know how I feel about running once it starts getting warmer. ;)

As for Todd, I know he struggled a bit at the end with sore legs, feet, back (okay, sore EVERYTHING), and for some reason, both of my feet were ridiculously sore and achy and ON FIRE for most of second half of the run, which definitely had an impact on our overall pace.

But given that our finish time was only about 30 minutes longer than our 18-miler, I’m hopeful that the (*fingers crossed*) cooler temps at the start of a 7:30am marathon and the fact that our legs and feet will be good and rested will help us do better on marathon day.

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But now that I’m in full taper mode, I’m struggling a little bit. See, the thing is, I am definitely NOT one of those runners who suffers from “taper crazies” or that undying need to run even though I’m supposed to be resting and gearing up for the race.

Quite frankly, I’m freakin’ exhausted, and I very, very much look forward to the taper. Is it wrong that it’s kind of my favorite part of the training plan? ;)

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TAPER TIME IS HERE!!!

However, the “beginner” plan from Competitor that we’ve been following all this time still has a whole lot of stuff going on this week and next. I’ve stuck with the plan pretty closely for the most part, but this week I was supposed to run a 3-miler, 8-miler, and 5-miler — and I only did the 3 and the 5, with a couple of Taekwondo classes tossed into the mix.

This weekend is a final longish run, a 12-miler, which I’m totally cool with…but then next week there’s another 3-miler, 8-miler, and 4-miler on deck.

Yeeeeeeeeah, I don’t think so.

So, my question to you all is what are YOUR taper strategies? Honestly, I’ve learned from experience that I have yet to struggle from anything other than heavy, exhausted legs and tight muscles on marathon day (don’t we all?), and I’m thinking that a little extra rest in the days leading up to the big race might be what I need to finish strong next Sunday.

This week's longest run -- a 5-miler -- and already sweating like a pig, lol

This week’s longest run — a 5-miler — and temperatures in the upper-60′s are already feeling WAY too hot for me, haha

But then, even though I know it’s ridiculous, I feel “guilty” for not getting in all of my runs this close to the big day…even though this plan is definitely unlike others I’ve followed that had much lower mileage in the final weeks. I know enough to scale back on the karate next week (duh), but when it comes to how much I should be running, I sort of feel like a newb. I’ve made so many mistakes in my previous rounds of marathon training, and I paid for it on race day…and I really want our experience at the New Jersey Marathon to be AWESOME. :)

Honestly, I’m more anxious about this race than any of my previous marathons. Okay, fine, except the Dopey Challenge. It really feels like the first time that I trained and planned and genuinely busted my butt to significantly improve my finish time, and I do feel READY. But at the same time, I’m sure you can all understand the feeling of wanting all that hard work to pay off on race day!

How often/long do you run in the final week or two before a goal race?

Any other taper tips/strategies for me?!

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