Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The Much Debated Taper
I’m wading through that grey area of the taper. My 7th half-marathon (the Inaugural Rock n Roll Pasadena Half Marathon) is mere days away. There are several schools of thought out on this, and with each runner you speak with, you can get a different answer of the best way to enter into a half marathon. I’ve had races where I do a two week taper, and others where I just train through… meaning I do 10 miles the week before my half, then the half, then do 10 miles the following week, then 15 the week after that. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is correct. Even when you’re on a training schedule life comes up and sometimes it’s difficult to stay on schedule. I haven’t met a single runner who hasn’t had to repeat a week or adjust their schedule because life threw them a curve. I’m told that one can gut through 13.1, but as my half in October showed, gutting through a half marathon to potentially risk injury, is something I’m not prepared to do. While humbling, by repeating weeks, you’ve likely amassed enough weekly mileage to successful complete a half-marathon and be able to walk the next day.
Still requiring more sleep than I am prepared to admit, I have pushed myself during the week and on Saturdays, that I crash on Sunday. This week has been no exception. This work week, I’m sleeping and sleeping. (Meaning I’m sleeping past 6 so I don’t have time to get my run in.) I’m not thrilled, but apparently, my body has decided to throw the training schedule out the window to stock up on the necessary sleep. Besides logging the necessary miles, nutrition and sleep are the other two important commodities that one needs to have a successful race. With the excitement of the race, sleep the day before does not come easily, so this is stocking up on pre-race sleep is important. One must remember that while balancing sleep, you need to keep running. The distance of daily runs is less and again there is debate on how much running one should do before a race. I have friends that continue to cross-train before a race and others that just do one little run the day prior to a race.
No two races are the same, even if they’re the same course… there’s always a different amount of training and/or nutrition before lining your toes up to the start. While I haven’t stayed on my training schedule day for day, I’ve managed to log about 20 miles a week and added cross-training in. (This is something I didn’t do with my previous training schedules.) My longest run was 9 miles. (The shortest training distance I had prior to a half.) While it may not be pretty, I know I can gut through the next 4.1. My priorities have shifted. I know I will not PR on this race, but I know one day that I can re-focus on setting a PR. This race is my first race that I have after my promotion, and while I’m not using the promotion as an excuse, it changed training. Everyone has something that throws a monkey-wrench into training- snow, a new baby, new house, health scare… Nothing is perfect and we cannot hold ourselves up to Dean Karnazes or Kara Goucher and expect to be the same. We can only do our best with the talents that we’ve been given and with the time we have.