If someone asked me what the hardest part of marathon training is, I wouldn’t say long runs, hard speed sessions at the track, or sacrificing my social life. I enjoy that part of marathon training. The hardest part is tapering.
I hate tapering.
This week I’ve significantly cut back my mileage and workouts, and yet my legs still feel like crap. I ran 6.2 miles on Tuesday and 4 on Thursday. I barely achieved marathon goal pace on Tuesday and was about 10 seconds per mile too slow on Thursday. During both runs, my right calf was super tight and my left arch hurt really bad. I wasn’t in the groove and each run was labored and hard, and did not inspire much confidence.
Why do my legs feel so crappy? Shouldn’t they feel stronger now that I’m taking it easy? Will they feel better by Vancouver? What if I start the marathon with dead legs? Was running 20 miles two weeks out a bad strategy?
Instead of feeling strong and proud of the work I’ve done and the fact that I’m about to run a freakin marathon, I doubt my training and my ability to reach my goals. Why didn’t I push myself harder in my tempo runs? Why didn’t I run more? Why are my running shorts so damn uncomfortable?
On a semi serious note, why are women’s running shorts so horrible? I have yet to find a pair that doesn’t ride up or cause a muffin top. Running capris are comfy and make me feel slender and fit. Actually, my shorts were annoying me so much during my run yesterday that I’m rethinking my marathon outfit for the 100th millionth time. If my marathon shorts are annoying during a 4-mile run, they will definitely be annoying during a 26.2-mile run. I’m either going to switch to a different compression short (the ones I wore last year at Vancouver) or wear my trusted capri pants.
Tapering makes me totally nuts and brings up a lot of emotions and feelings of self doubt that I’d rather not have. And I still have another week to go. Ugh.
In other news, I am running the Top Pot 5k this Sunday. I debated whether or not I should run the Top Pot 5k. On one hand, I didn’t feel like spending $40 to register for a trivial race. On the other hand, I really want a PR. In the end, my greedy desire for PRs beat my attempt at being financially responsible, and I registered for the race.
Top Pot goes around Greenlake and is a flat, PR’able course. My current 5k PR is 25:26 from the Greenlake Gobble in November. I
hope plan to beat this PR for personal reasons and as a fitness gauge to help with my pacing plan for Vancouver.
Like any race, I have a few goals. However, I’ve modified these goals based on how I’ve been feeling this week, and I’ve lowered my expectations. I do want a PR and think that’s totally do-able, but I don’t want to push myself too hard and cause any lingering soreness on the big day. Vancouver is my priority. A doughnut fun run is not. With that said, here are my goals:
A: Finish sub 24:30. According to Running Times Race Pace Calculator, a 5k in 24:32 equates to a 3:59:52 marathon. This is just shy of an 8 minute mile – I can do this.
B: Finish sub 25.
C: Finish sub 25:26 for a PR.
8 days until Vancouver!