Despite a heavy week of training (>80km) I was over the moon to run a personal best time for the half marathon at the Melbourne Running Festival on 15 October. It was a beautiful day – perfect for running – with a blue sunny sky, around 17 degrees and a light breeze.
This was my final ‘tune up’ race before the NYC marathon – now only 16 days away. It was a chance to practice my nutrition, pacing and the gear I will be wearing. I ran a net time of 1:55:45 which was the third fastest time in my age group with 60 competitors. After the race I felt good and sooooo happy!
Then – that great feeling painfully slipped away. Sunday the 15th was supposed to be my last long 32km run so I felt I had to complete the distance when I returned to Canberra. It was extraordinarily tough and my legs felt heavy and tired. I think it gave me a good idea of what it might feel like during the last few miles of the marathon – not nice – dreadful!
One good thing, my Topo shoes were quite comfortable even towards the end. I think I have worked out the best way to tape my toes and save myself from losing all my toenails which is apparently not uncommon after a marathon.
Today (21 October) I ran my 49th Parkrun at Hasting on the Mornington Peninsula while visiting my Mum before heading for NYC. It was good to do a reasonable 5km time of 25:37 minutes while in my tapering off period. Next Saturday I will hopefully complete my 50th Parkrun at Ginninderra the day before heading OS.
The recommended ‘taper’ before a marathon seems to vary from two to three weeks. For me this means the volume of training decreases by 15-20% each week. The purpose of the taper is to allow the body to recover from the accumulated fatigue built up over 16 weeks of hard training. Since the effects of ‘hard runs’ are generally realised about 10 days later, trying to train hard in this period is not of any great benefit physiologically – and possibly detrimental. The controlled rest, however, can significantly enhance the body’s ability to cope with the demands of the marathon distance. I’m sure hoping this is true!