Monday, 15 April 2013

Taper Madness!

Today is officially the start of my taper for the Milton Keynes Marathon (on 6th May).

Having run 23.5 miles yesterday, all of my longs runs are now done and I will be gradually reducing my training volume as I approach race day. Albeit, I am going to include a few more faster sessions this year, with a view to keeping some sharpness and tuning my legs into race pace (target 8:00 m/m).

The trouble with this stage of your training is that you know there is nothing you can do to improve your chances of achieving your marathon goal and that any attempts to squeeze in 'one last long run', will probably do more harm than good.

It is also inevitable that you will look back on the runs or sessions that you might have missed. For me, I missed out on a 20 miler due to getting the date for the MK Half wrong and I also miscalculated my total weeks when devising my training plan, so I won't be doing the 24 miler I had scheduled for next Sunday. Now, they are two fairly key sessions right there and I am currently in panic mode, thinking, have I done enough? So much so, I have been comparing my training with the latter stages of my Brighton Marathon training in 2011!

The fact is, marathon training very rarely goes 100% to plan. Home life, work, social occasions, injuries and in my case, the inability to use a calender(!) can all cause us to deviate from our marathon training plans. In looking back at my Brighton Marathon training from last year, I noticed that I had to skip a couple of key sessions/long runs late on, due to shin splints. I had completely forgotten about this injury and the minor lay off it caused. Clearly, it didn't affect my preparation too much because I PB'd at Brighton by over 15 mins (3:44:49).

So, I am writhing this post just to remind me to look at the key sessions I DID complete and not to panic during the 'Taper Madness', which will no doubt increase as I edge closer to race day. Instead, I should enjoy the fact that my Sunday runs are not going to consume the whole day and that I am giving my body a chance to recover before race day!

How are you/have you coped with 'Taper Madness'?