...I haven't lost it. It just never showed up.
Lately, I've noticed that my head just isn't in this marathon training. It's not that I'm missing my workouts or not pushing myself, but mentally, I don't feel like I'll be running a marathon next weekend.
It probably has to do with that little 50K which was my main focus for the entire summer and now that it's over, I'm just about to run another MAJOR race. This kind of running schedule is for crazy people. When did I become one of them?!
While I know my body is ready for Victoria, my head just isn't there. I don't have the taper madness because frankly, I've forgotten what tapering means. I suppose I better start doing that next week.
So seriously, I wanted to get back to the meaning of tapering. I just pulled out my old "Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide" by Hal Higdon to get some more specific answers. Sure in my head I know it means to ease back on training, but what specifically?
I even pulled out my very first training plan that I found on Runner's World by Benji Durden that was only based on time. For example, all my long runs were done much slower and the plan simply told me to run for 2.5 hrs one week for my long run. It's baffling to me that this still is the plan that holds my PR marathon time.
Higdon says there are five areas where runners need to change our habits during the taper.
1. Cut total mileage. As a general rule, cut by at least 50%.
2. Cut frequency. Give your body a day off rather than doing an easy run.
3. Cut distance, not intensity. Research shows you will benefit from small amounts of at or near race pace running rather than only slow and easy miles.
4. Cut the lifting. No heavy lifting at least 3 to 6 weeks before a marathon. If you are doing strength exercises, make sure you are doing fewer reps and lighter weights. Leave the gym feeling energetic, not exhausted.
5. Cut back on calories. Watch what you eat in the realm of empty calories - as you're running less, you're also burning fewer calories.
It's also recommended to adding some extra carbohydrates the last 3-7 days of your taper so those energy stores are chalk full on marathon morning.
"In the final week, eliminate hard training. If you run anything at or near race pace, don't run far." I'll be lucky and happy to be traveling during the few days leading up the race because it will force me not to run and give my mind something else to focus on.
For races I don't have to travel far for, I've focused on trying to do more relaxing things like hanging out with friends, reading a magazine or book, watching a movie, etc. to fill my non running taper time.
And finally, in that last 24 hours, don't spend too much time on your feet. And pay attention to what you're eating and drinking!
So there you have it, an overview of the taper. Do you follow a specific taper regimen? Do you prefer a two or three week taper?