Big miles banked onto the Taper

Mark Fairbrother
Tuesday, 2 April, 2013
Phew, a huge sense of achievement washes over me as I write this instalment; I’ve now reached that critical stage of my marathon journey, the Taper... Last Sunday was my last long, slow run of this spring marathon campaign, and I’m glad to report it was a good one, leaving me feeling pleased with the progress I have made in a space of 4 months and with the improvement year on year. Tapering means lots of things to many people, I was startled to read one comment in a running forum recently (not Men’s Running..) that effectively went along the lines of “ah, thank god I’m done with training, looking forward to doing nothing for the next few weeks”. I couldn’t help but feel that this was just a flippant, tongue in cheek comment, but reading on a little further, I think it may just be a genuine statement. Good luck to that runner! For me, the taper period is an exciting proposition for many reasons:
  • I feel confident (not overly) that the hard work to date has put me in excellent shape to achieve my initial objective of completing a sub 3:30 marathon
  • I’m excited at the thought that my Marathon (Brighton) is now less than 3 weeks out.
  • I have executed my last two LSR’s as though they were race day with regards pacing and fuelling. Kit choice, on other hand may need to be a late call if ‘spring’ ever decides to kick in...So feel prepared.
  • I know now that my mileage per week will decrease as race day draws closer, but the intensity of each session WILL NOT. I will run less, not train less is my mantra.
  • Each passing day I will feel my legs recuperating as the tiredness and aching of the last few months drain away.
  • I have 4 sports massages to look forward to.
  • I will continue to stretch and hydrate daily.
So a quick update on last week’s training sessions. Monday was a nice 45 min recovery run easing me back into the week after the previous day’s 20 miler Tuesday was a double header, a 30 min easy run in the morning followed by 5 x 5min threshold run separated with 1 minute recoveries in the evening. Despite going at the session hard I was just unable to hit my threshold pace of around 6:20-6:40 – I think the LSR was still in the legs!, I managed to average out the 5 intervals in around 6:49m/m so still a decent session. Wednesday plan said “Rest or 30 min rec run or X train” – I took the former. I had one eye on Thursday... Thursday was a 90min run including 3 x 10min at Threshold in the last 40 mins off 5 min recoveries. I love these sessions as it really does keep your mind focussed. Knowing that you have to pick up the pace in the latter part of the session when your legs are tiring gets your mind in exactly the same place as the closing stages of the marathon, so these sessions are great for both mind and body. Friday is always rest day (I remember when it used to signal the start of the weekend....) As you’ve asked, No, I still haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since NYE, stacking up a sensational amount of brownie points in the process! Saturday was a nice easy 30min run, I had considered doing another Park Run and hopefully bettering my 5k PB, but I didn’t want to sacrifice nailing my final LSR on the Sunday so backed out. Sunday – My final LSR for Project 26.2 and on my quest to conquer Brighton. As I mentioned earlier, I treated this a mock race day. So got up early for breakfast and aimed to get out the door by 9am, by 9:18 I was just about ready and off I went. Nick had set up a fantastic, challenging 35k to test my wits against. The session was to be run as 3 x 10k and a split 5k at the end. The first 10k was easy pace, and then move up to MP - 15secs, with the final 10k at MP. I took on 2 High 5 Isogels 15 mins before setting off, then had my first 40 mins in then continued to take another every 20 mins, this was perfect and I am really feeling the benefit of them now. Previously my intakes where too sporadic, and consequently I found myself taking them when my carbs where already depleted. This was by far the best LSR I have run, the whole pacing was better, I felt comfortable and in control and managed to get over the 17 mile hump without fading, which has become somewhat of a ‘concern’, again I feel the fuelling strategy put paid to that. I managed to complete the 35k in 2hr 49s at an average pace of 7:50m/m. For those of you heading into your own marathon soon, enjoy your tapering and lets all remain healthy, fit and strong for this final push. Deal? Cheers Mark
Follow on twitter @mpfaccountancy.


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