Weekend Taper Instead of 20. Ohhh Boy.

It is a good thing I made the kindof-educated decision Saturday night to skip the 20 Sunday and begin my taper instead.  The way my legs felt, that wouldn’t have happened anyways.  If I feel like that marathon day, forget even finishing.

With me being sick and then wanting to fit in a half marathon, I had tweaked my training schedule so I had a 20 mile run one month before my marathon rather than the recommended three weeks.  I had originally thought I should get one more in before that.

I took the kids to the library Saturday morning after struggling through a marathon pace 5 miles.  As we were checking out, a book caught my eye called “The New Rules of Running.”  I grabbed it and off we went to the playground and a Mommy/kids date at Panera:)

outside3 outside4outside1


Cold but great day with my baby babies.  Then while they napped, I savored the quiet and dove into my new book.  I am not really one who follows many “rules” to running- I think running, like learning, is individual.  We all have our ways that it works best for us. But I do believe there are guidelines when training for a specific race.

The book really ground it in me that running 20 miles two weeks before my marathon was not a good idea if I wanted fresh legs for it.  After a fast 20 miles two weeks ago and a half marathon at a 7:39 pace last week, my legs desperately need some time to recover.  A long run would have killed them- the 12 slower miles I ended up doing instead nearly did.  I was struggling at a 9:20 pace by the end!  I have no idea if I made a terrible choice or not.  Only race day will tell.  Now I let the sweet taper and mending of those tired muscles begin.  I want to feel as good race day as I did my last 20 mile run.

As for the book?  I thought I’d share a few things I’ve read just by skimming:

new rules

1. There’s no one way to run.  The highlight of this is that they can see a pattern in a child as early as two years old!  The type of runner we are is largely based on nature over nurture and every runner is different.  Hey Mom, how did I run when I was two??

2. Speed is strength in disguise.  This one I have a hard time with- it talks about running your long runs slower to get you a faster time.  I obviously ran my 20 mile close to how fast I want to run the marathon, but I wasn’t pushing myself and I felt comfortable the entire run.  It is just one rule I can’t wrap my head around, even if I should.  I run slower recovery runs during the week.

3. You must learn to endure.  Simple- you need endurance to run.  One example of this for me is in high school.  I remember running an 8 minute mile in gym class (I was not a runner at all, but I wanted to get it over with).  I’d finish so hard I’d taste blood in my throat- I remember that vividly.  So when Bri and I began running together Junior year, I thought I had to go that fast.  As a result, we’d only get a mile before we were done.  I had to learn to slow down if I wanted more miles- to increase time on my feet.  That is how we begin to run longer distances.  But you can over-endure, too.  Sometimes we become so obsessed with the amount of miles we’re running rather than the quality runs themselves.  Especially with trying to hit a faster goal, the type of runs I do are more important.  My training plan rarely had me go over 40 miles a week!  And I’m great with that.

4. Hydrating and eating properly to stimulate recovery.  Pretty self-explanatory.  Hydrate big time, especially as a runner.  Replace electrolytes.  And eat real food.

5. Rest is essential for recovery and performance.  You need rest to heal and repair your body.  Over-training leads to injuries, which is why I decided to eliminate another long run and let my body recover.

The book then goes into detail on injuries, hydration, training plans, and strategies.  It even has training plans based on 10 day weeks rather than seven.  Very interesting read for the runner.  I tried to read it to the kids, but they didn’t care.

One rule I follow myself is not wearing a watch in races.  I have decided again against wearing my Garmin for my marathon.  I wear it only for tempo runs and for my long runs at home because I need to know when I’ve hit my mileage.  But at the race, they’ve done that for me.  I want to run how I feel.  Wearing a watch may help some, but for me it is a pain.  If I’m not feeling an 8:12 pace in Philly, I don’t want to know it while I run.  A great article from Runner’s World about the Timeless Challenge:


no garmin

I read Kara Goucher’s (I just love her) blog after her NYC marathon.  She wrote about the super windy conditions and how she really struggled to finish.  The first five miles she didn’t even know her pace because the mile markers had been blown away.  Even she doesn’t wear a watch.  And she runs a 5 minute pace.  Infreakingcredible.

kara goucher

Anyways- there are my ramblings about these rules of running amidst my own personal style of running.  There is no one perfect formula and I changed mine.  I’m hoping that won’t come back to bite me on race day, but what’s done is done.  Running a distance race is about having the fitness level to finish it. I have worked hard and my body is there.  Now it’s all up to my mind. 

Bring on the taper!! 



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