Last night I completed my final longer/hard workout before the marathon. With the stop of my watch I had officially entered true taper mode, and to be honest...I'm thrilled. Yes, this coming from the girl who has previously complained about taper before marathons...many times.
For 100 days (officially, not including all the miles before training started) I poured my effort into training for this one race. 740+ miles later. Today, being day 101 with only 10 days until the race- I pour my effort into rest and recovery. More sleep, more rest, more compression, more water, more food (well, until depletion starts). More, more more everything. Except running. Normally I dread taper, and there are still parts I don't look forward to but as a whole I am embracing it this time around.
In the last week and a half I have had my final 'big' workouts for the race. A tempo last week, which unfortunately didn't go as planned (although looking back, it could have been much worse and I really was being a big baby about it). Last Friday I did my final long run, a 23+ miler all of which was done on the marathon course. This run, like the tempo did not go as planned. The heat and humidity took a large toll but at the end of the day I still got the 23+ miles in, and changing to effort over pace mid-run made that possible. I'm also a big believer in 'better today than on race day' when it comes to 'eh' long runs.
I put some pressure on last night's tempo, I wanted to go out on a positive note. The short of it, I got the workout done and feel confident about this training cycle. 12 miles with 10 progression tempo miles (6:47 average for the tempo miles). The slightly longer version- it wasn't perfect, it didn't feel amazing but I did it anyways. I know that the cumulative fatigue on my body right now is there, and it's time to rest.
Now it's time for some easy running, a short MP tempo, lots of compression, lots of hydrating and lots of nutritional calculations. Bring on the list making, weather checking, sleeping and motivation seeking. Something I constantly have to remind myself during taper is, THE WORK IS DONE. Focusing on what I can control, and keeping my eyes on the prize are huge. Running extra miles or adding workouts, are NOT going to help. Sleeping more, eating right, and giving my mind and body some TLC, those things WILL help.
While I KNOW that I will still be on the emotional roller coaster we like to call taper, I'm ready for this. I've got one of the best support systems a girl could ask for, and I'm certainly grateful for that. I'm also certain they are grateful that I know when to take time for myself so I don't drive everyone else bonkers too :)
Now, someone get me a Guinness. STAT.