After that, it’s whatever fits the mood.
Mixed amid this gumbo of inexplicableness is a rather ritualistic taper week. It’s ritualistic because I did it once and had success with it so I stuck with it. The day before the race I like to run 5k to 4 miles and then have a big breakfast/lunch. All of the other runs ranges from five to seven miles including the five-mile tempo run on the Tuesday before the race – Wednesday if I’m running in Boston – as well as a 10-miler on Monday.
I also try to get my race packet as soon as I can because I like to hole up in my house/hotel like Howard Hughes.
The plan always seemed to be rather haphazardly slapped together until I read the taper plan from Dr. Jack Daniels’ running formula. Even though I don’t like hard-and-fast rules, his taper week suggestions make so much sense that I’m going to follow his plan as closely as possible…
Except for that five-mile tempo run. I’m doing that on Tuesday.
Anyway, starting with Sunday’s 14-mile run I have been copying Daniels’ moves. Here’s his plan:
7 days to race: 90-minutes easy pace
6 days: 60-minutes easy pace, plus 4-6 strides
5 days: 2 miles easy pace, plus 4x1200 with 2-minutes easy, plus 2 miles easy
4 days: 30 to 50 minutes easy, plus 4-6 strides
3 days: 20 to 30 minutes easy, plus 4 strides
2 days: 0 to 20 minutes easy
1 day: 20 to 30 minutes easy
See, it looks like the stuff I had been doing all along. But since I dislike the track and intervals, I’m going to try to do 5 miles in 27 minutes instead. I’m also going to try to not get too far ahead of myself like I do in golf in the rare instance when I hit a nice, long drive down the center of the fairway. Inevitably I start thinking about my birdie putt instead of knocking my second shot onto the green and end up pulling my head and flubbing the approach.
In other words, stay focused and don’t count the chickens until they get their flu shots.
And, of course, that’s the hard part. The taper messes with my mind. It’s always so much easier to go out and run and train hard and build confidence than it is to cut back and retain that feeling of strength. Perhaps that is part of the allure of the marathon? It’s like chess, not checkers.
Anyway, today’s workout according to Dr. Daniels called for 60 minutes, so I ran 10 miles in 59:24. Add in the 79 seconds it took me to run from my house to F&M’s Baker Field and I got my hour.
Nevertheless, the 59:24 sounds pretty quick. In fact, it’s the fastest I have ever run over 10 miles on the Baker Field loop. But for some reason it felt incredibly easy – it was so easy that I tried to slow myself down after going through the first five miles in 29:16.
I’m starting to get the feeling that I’m in decent shape. Then again, running a good marathon takes a lot more than simply being in shape.
Here's a pretty good story about a couple of pacesetters (a.k.a. rabbits) in yesterday's New York City Marathon from Liz Robbins in The New York Times. Apparently the NYRRC is not going to hire pacesetters for the 2007 race... that's fine. The field won't be so deep in 2007 since the U.S. Olympic Trials will be held the day before the main marathon.