TITLE: The Taper Begins
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: September 12, 2005 7:39 PM
DESC: Training is done. All that is left is recovery -- and the race.
I'm feeling deja vu all over again, only
two weeks ahead of schedule. Last
I blogged about the end of my major training phase
Des Moines Marathon,
my second marathon. I ran Des Moines in 3:45, which
was an 18-minute improvement over my
Today I can write a corresponding entry for my third,
Twin Cities Marathon,
which takes place on October 2. If you've been
story up to now,
you know that I've run a 24.8-miler, two 22-milers,
and a 20-miler. I've mostly been very happy with my
times and how I've felt after my long training runs.
I've also had some good speed work-outs, though they
haven't always ended as I had hoped.
Yesterday, I did my second 20-miler of the season.
Unfortunately, I have been sick for several days,
which made this my least satisfying long run in terms
of absolute performance all year. To be honest, I
probably shouldn't have run at all, should have just
rested and found a way to get a few extra miles in
over this week. But I have high hopes for a healthy
and effective taper over the next three weeks, and I
did not want to start out my taper in the hole.
I suppose that, in context, I should be happy with
my performance yesterday. I was weak, depleted,
tired; but I gutted it out for 2:57:00 and even threw
in a 7:48 mile near the end. But that left me even
weaker,more depleted, and more tired. All I could do
the rest of the day was lie back and watch 35-year-old
Andre Agassi gut out three hard sets against world No. 1
Roger Federer in the
tennis championship, before falling to time and the
relentless, all-purpose game of a great champion.
Watching Agassi's concentration and shot-making after
having played 3 consecutive 5-set matches, at an age
when most professional tennis players have long since
hung up their rackets, was inspiring. I hope that I
can summon a resolve like his in those last miles of
my marathon, as a I approach downtown St. Paul.
I feel a little better today and hope to do an easy
5 miles tomorrow morning. If all goes well, I'll do
one last long speed work-out this week and a shorter
speed work-out next week. But, as I said last year,
my main goal at this point in training is to enjoy my
runs, let my body recover from the pounding it's taken
the last few weeks (225+ miles over four weeks), and
break in a new pair of shoes for the race. The week
before the race will consist of just a few short, easy
runs, with a couple of miles at marathon goal pace
thrown in to preserve muscle memory.
Wish me luck.