Boston Marathon 2014: The Taper Begins

Yes. This would be me right now. There's great tapering advice to be had at www.runneracademy.com.
Yes. This would be me right now. There’s great tapering advice to be had at www.runneracademy.com, which also provided this great photo.

Ah, the marathon taper. A great time to obsess about whether you’re ready to run…to second-guess your training, your nutrition, your rest patterns, your race strategy, and your insomnia…a great place to meet up with your neuroses for a full week before you can do anything about it.

And by “do anything about it,” I mean this.

But the Boston Marathon is still a whole week away. And, unlike the rest of the year at Every48, where I commit to doing an hour of challenging aerobic exercise every 48 hours for the year, this week has to be a little different, and by necessity.

I'd love to feel like this on Boylston Street a week from today. (Image courtesy of 10incheslab / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
I’d love to feel like this on Boylston Street a week from today. (Image courtesy of 10incheslab / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Yesterday, I ran a short but slightly hilly race (12K) in the Seattle area as a final speed/strength tune-up. (Race report tomorrow.)  Now, the waiting – and the far shorter and less intense workouts – really begin in earnest. (A classic marathon taper can be anywhere from two to four weeks, but I’ve found that the shorter taper is fine for me because I’m not a high-mileage runner. So technically my taper started last week – but because I didn’t run terribly well in March, I trained pretty hard last week. This week I’ll really dial back and rest.)

Friday and Saturday of last week were the first two days of 2014 in which I did not do an Every48 workout for every 48 hours. I ran on Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, then took a classic rest day on Friday, and was on my feet all day Saturday but didn’t do any actual working out. Then, the Sunday race.

This week I’ll run shorter, slower runs – just enough to shake the tension out of my legs. I’ll try to rest really well. I’ll try to sleep decently. And I’ll try to eat a little less, but maybe a little bit more in the carbohydrate division than usual, so that I can build up my glycogen stores. The marathon is not a race. It’s an energy management exercise. The key is to get to the finish line as you’re burning the last drop of energy your body has to dedicate to the cause. So eating a little more carbs in this last taper week can help.

None of this may actually work, by the way. I haven’t run well in Boston yet in four tries (one bandit experience back in college before the race became the huge event it is today, and the last three as an invitational/charity runner). So I might crash and burn anyway.

But this week, I’m going to try to have a great taper. That’s the only way to give myself the best opportunity to perform well on April 21.

Yesterday’s #every48 workout: RUN – The Seahawks 12K! Very cool race shirt with my new favorite hashtag: #whatsnext. Also a very nifty race number. Race report coming tomorrow.

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