Today I’ve decided to officially start my taper.
It’s possibly one of the hardest things to get right when training hard… how not to train. I’m 6 days away from a 26.2 mile run, and I want to be on the start line fresh and ready for it. How to do that is another matter.
You’d think it would be easy. But all I really know is how to push myself; pushing until just before (and sometimes just after) the point at which I do some damage. I know exactly how long it takes to recover, and when I can go out and run again. I spend my life on that thin line of hurting, but not damaging myself. Taking a day, let alone a week off, is a bizarre feeling.
To clarify the complexity, let me lay it on the line: I need to keep everything ticking over, so I don’t so much stop, as drastically reduce how much training I do. The response from my body is twofold. Firstly, weird things start to hurt, and muscles get instantly heavy and lethargic. Some of this is pyschological, some of it is muscles repairing themselves. Still. I walked to the tube today, and it felt like a long uphill (it wasn’t), and my inner thigh stabbed with pain with each step. This is not confidence inspiring in any way. The second, and more subtley dangerous problem, is that when you actually get a bit of training in, no matter how much you tell yourself to back off, everything suddenly feels blissfully easy, and you find yourself flying along, and in doing so, not tapering properly. So unused to the feeling of rest, everything feels either slow or fast. To make things a little more complex, my appetite remains high, but my calorie burn drops off a cliff. Not a great combo
Because of life getting in the way, I haven’t had a really long run in weeks. My weekly mileage has gone from 50ish three weeks ago, to 45, to 30; so on the face of it, I’m doing well, and should be nice and rested by Sunday. This week I’m going to hit the pool hard, the bike less hard, and maybe a bit of token running to get used to the race trainers.
I’m going to be a pain to be around though. Wanting (but trying to avoid) sugar, coffee, exercise. I can’t possibly get fitter, but I have plenty of time to screw up weeks of training. I’ve bought a pile of fruit, and I plan to sleep a helluva lot when not eating it.
Wish me luck, ehy?