Sugarloaf marathon week 14: the taper begins

Greetings from the first week of taper mania! I have to say that despite the mileage going down, this week didn’t feel particularly easy. I think that has something to do with the fact that it was a really busy week outside of running. I always make a concerted effort to see friends once classes wrap up for the semester, but I’m very guilty of making plans every night and burning myself out. I’m also feeling a few of the mental demons sneaking their way in, so I want to really cement my mantras and mental strategies during these final two weeks before race day. Here are my goals for the taper:

  • Run my marathon pace runs at MGP, not faster.
  • Carb load in a smart, gradual way and take it easy with the sugar and vino.
  • Really give myself a mental break and take time to chill the eff out.

On the logistical front, I started rotating in a lighter pair of sneakers that I plan to use on race day–and they feel great! I usually run in Asics GT 2000 4 and my newer shoes are the Mizuno Wave Rider 20. I have done speedwork and racing in the Wave Rider 18 and these are a great new version. I have super narrow feet, especially in the midfoot/heel, so my sneaker options are limited to those that come in a 2A width. If there are any other tiny footed people out there looking for shoe options, these two work well in rotation for me. I plan to get about 50 miles in on the Wave Riders before race day. I did spend a silly amount of timing deciding whether or not to return a pair of Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33s–does anyone have thoughts on these?? I’m all ears!

Also, Denise and I are planning to run Sugarloaf together! We run really similar paces and are totally in sync with our race strategies, so I think it will be great to aim to stick together–of course with the caveat that we’ll both need to run our own races and do what we need to do to take care of ourselves day-of. We ran a really strong long run together on Sunday so I’m very confident about our plan. I am starting to think throgh nutrition planning and race strategy also–more to come on those 🙂

Week 14: 45.3 miles total

  • Monday: 6 easy + strides
  • Tuesday: 4 “watchless” easy miles, banded strength circuit
  • Wednesday: 8 MGP miles, fast finish
  • Thursday: 6 easy
  • Friday: 4 easy
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: 10 easy, 6 MGP for 16 total at 8:20 average

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin), with Eat Pray Run DC for her training linkup, and with the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits).

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 15

fullsizerender-6Ladies and gents, THE LAST LONG RUN IS DONE. Which mean–IT’S TAPER TIME!!! Ok, sorry for shouting, but I am SO excited to be heading into the last stage of training with just 19 days to go until the race. I’m definitely feeling a zillion times more prepared than I did last year at this point, so it’s extra gratifying to be dialing things down a little bit.

To back up, I started this week out pretty exhausted. I ran both the day before and the day after my half marathon, powered through a 13 hour workday on Monday, did a hard track workout Tuesday, and then absolutely crashed Tuesday afternoon. img_0314I think it was a combination of physical and mental exhaustion, but either way, I ended up leaving work early and taking a nap before reviving myself for class.

I have a fair amount on my plate right now (school, work, running, and wedding planning, to name a few) and this was a good reminder to give my body what it’s asking for. Which meant taking Wednesday off from running and hitting up a solid 90 minute yoga class.

Thursday morning I got my legs moving again to bump my mileage back up. I got a new GPS watch for my birthday and was definitely on the struggle bus trying to get it to work during this run–I apparently had it set to kilometers instead of miles. img_0339Oops! Now all is well and I can’t wait to play around with all of the features, the most important of which is that I don’t have to wait around for my old school Garmin Forerunner 10 to spend 5 minutes searching for satellites every morning. Huzzah.

Friday I got up far earlier than I am comfortable with (UGH) to do my marathon practice long run. Basically, I tried to mirror marathon day as much as possible in terms of what I ate, wore, carried, etc. I had my gluten-free plain bagel with peanut butter and banana and then packed up my gels and hand-held water bottle before meeting the girls for our 20 miler.

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Warning: do not try to pose cute “no miler” pics at mile 18 😉

We had a fun, chatty run with some solid splits, and even managed a little surge at the end (last 4 miles were at 7:46, 7:50, 7:38, and 7:40). I definitely was hurting by the end of this run which is a little bit scary, since on race day I’ll still have 6.2 miles to go, but I know the atmosphere and the fact that I’ll be fully rested/tapered will make a huge difference. My tummy felt settled, I managed to stay pretty hydrated, and I didn’t have any major chafing/blister issues, so all systems are ready to roll!

After the run I quickly jetted to the office (zomg guys working after a long run is rough) and then to a fun family dinner before J and I hit the road on Saturday to head up to Burlington, VT for a music festival which turned out to be SUCH a blast! We saw Guster (my all-time favorite band), Grace Potter, Old Crow Medicine Show, and so many other awesome performances. Plus, I got to run and do yoga on Lake Champlain and also eat all of the amazing things. Burlington is a super fun town for a weekend away, although prepare yourself for 3.5 hours in the car each way. Compression socks FTW. Also, I highly recommend this podcast series on the Manson murders if you have a long car ride coming up–it’s fascinating.

Week 15:

  • Tuesday: Track! Lotsa 200’s at mile pace–speedwork at 5:45 average
  • Wednesday: 90 minute yoga and a much needed extra rest day
  • Thursday: 5.5 miles
  • Friday: Final 20 miler, 8:00 average pace
  • Saturday: OFF
  • Sunday: 3.3 mile shakeout, 60 minute yoga
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    One more gratuitous sunrise photo!

    Linking up with The Weekly Wrap, hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin!