Four weeks out from my next marathon, and how do I spend my recovery night? Ordering that new pair of Kinvaras. Hoping they’ve got a BQ in them.
flickr image by foreversouls
My next race, the California International Marathon in Sacramento, is less than two weeks away, and I’m starting to get anxious and excited about running it. Training-wise I’m transitioning from my slightly unorthodox regimen of running blocks of long distance to a more traditional taper. And, since I believe tapering before a big race is so important, I’m putting my trust back into the hands of runners who know a lot more than I do about the sport. In spite of ignoring the marathon training plan I’ve used in the past during the run-up to CIM, I’m now turning to it as I start tapering.
I’ve said before I wanted to “shake up my routine” and break away from a strict training regimen while prepping for CIM, but these two weeks prior to the marathon are vital to race day success, and they aren’t a good time to start experimenting with running routines. In fact, some of the fatigue and stiffness I’ve experienced in the latter halves of my running weeks have prodded me to reconsider my views on the importance of tapering. I’m happy with the distance training I’ve engaged in for the past few weeks, and I believe it’s helped make me a stronger and more confident runner. But I don’t think running 50 mile weeks right before a marathon is a good idea. Conversely, I don’t know how little I should be running. So, I’m returning to the advice of experts and following the mileage suggestions from my trusty marathon training schedule.
I’ll follow the training schedule as closely as I can, and over the next two weeks I’ll be trading the physical aches and pains of getting in a lot of mileage for the mental stress of the taper. I’ll have to resist the urge to run when I shouldn’t along with the growing sense of impending failure which can creep up because, “You aren’t running enough!” Running as a sport has a huge mental component, and this tapering period is helping me realize my race begins well before I get to the starting line.
What do you think? Comments always welcome.
Long run Sunday, so that means another jaunt through the park so I can get in the mileage. Everything was going great, and I was locked in a nice zone. That is I was until a poor fellow on a bicycle went ass over teakettle over his handlebars right next to me. I immediately put on the brakes and rushed over to see if I could help him out. Blood everywhere, missing teeth, and minor shock. As a few other cyclists came over to see what they could do, I told one of the injured fellow’s companions to go get ice and napkins from a vendor which is basically the equivalent of those scenes in movies where a gentleman is told to boil some water and gather some towels when a woman goes into labor. The tasks aren’t very useful, but they give the guy something to do. I guided the fellow over to a bench so he could sit down and then went and got his bike out of the road. By then someone with a phone was dialing 911, and after telling his companions to let the paramedics know where in the park they were I resumed my run.
Moments later I felt a little guilty, but I didn’t feel there was much else I could do. Looking back I suppose I could have used my water to start irrigating his wound a bit, but I didn’t think about that until I was long gone, and, really, is that the right thing to do for that kind of injury? Not only did I not know the right course of action in this case, but I realized I don’t know much first aid at all. Mostly that’s not a problem; I can count on one hand the number of times in my life I’ve been on the scene for an accident like this one. But, especially as a distance runner I should probably brush up on my first aid skills and have a better sense of what to do in case someone goes down in front of me on the racecourse, for example. We can’t always wait for the cavalry to come in to help us out, and sometimes dealing with an injured runner or cyclist requires more than just a walk over to a park bench.
flickr photo by jmv
flickr photo by Darwin Bell
Laundry night. I’ve got to suck it up and get through it, but it’s such a waste of time. Since we don’t have laundry in the building, I’ve got to haul all our dirties to the closest lavanderia. And once I’ve crammed practically all the clothes we own into one giant washer, I’ve got nothing but time to kill. What to do?
I think you know where I’m going with this. How about a little post-marathon recovery run? Just a shorty. Not too fast. Don’t want to put undue strain on the legs. Sounds like a good idea, no?
While our collection of shirts, socks, and unmentionables went through the soak, wash, and spin cycles, I went on a little 30 minute run through the Mission. I felt pretty good, but I’ll tell you, I think my mind is ahead of my body right now. I might have felt ready to get back out there, but there’s no denying I’m still a bit stiff from Saturday. It was a bit like having the aerobic strength of the beginning of a long run combined with the stiffening legs of the end of one. A little odd, but overall I’m going to deem this effort a success, and I’ll probably put in a couple of miles on Thursday after another day of recovery.
Just please don’t anyone tell the honey, though. She thinks I always take a week off after running a marathon, and this might get her steamed at me. I’ve got to get out there, though, and train up quickly (but intelligently) for the upcoming San Francisco Marathon at the end of July.
Oh, and I haven’t yet told her I’m running that either.
That’s it. No more training runs. I’m shutting it down until Sunday. Tonight I ran one of my regular 4 mile neighborhood circuits at a steady, gentle pace. I wasn’t out to set any records. I just wanted to get my final bit of mileage in without sustaining any new injuries or aggravating any existing ones. I didn’t bolt out into any intersections to catch lights as they changed from yellow to red. I walked around pedestrian clusters instead of darting out into traffic. I stopped short if I thought my path would intersect that of a cyclist. Throughout the run I felt a little stiff, so the next few days off will hopefully allow my body to relax and unwind so I’m loose and ready to run on Sunday.
This has been a long training period during which I’ve run hundreds of miles. It has been interrupted three times by nagging injuries which healed relatively quickly. And it’s been interrupted by a couple of deaths in the family, wounds which take a little longer to overcome. Now though it’s time to move on. To get the heart beating faster, the blood flowing, and the legs pumping. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to participate in this weekend’s Napa Valley Marathon, and I’m going to leave it all out there on the road.