Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Taper Time

So far, 2014 has been a very busy year…

I’ve logged 2829 miles through 41 weeks - for an average of 69 miles per week. Or, about 10 miles a day! My weekly average is 9 miles per week more than my biggest year. And, 17 miles per week more than I’ve averaged over the last 5 years. Which works out to one extra long run, every week! Speaking of long runs, my AVERAGE long run this year has been 24 miles.

That’s like running a near-marathon every week, all year long!

My highest weekly total this year is 86 miles. And my lowest is 50. I have been fortunate enough to have not lost one day of training due to sickness, or injury. And, out of the 287 days we’ve had in 2014, I’ve only taken 10 days completely off (1 rest day per month) and all ten were taken by choice.

I’ve raced two 50 milers, four 50k’s, one 25k and one marathon. I’ve run up 8 mountains, done the 30 mile Pemi Loop, and survived the 50 mile Hut Traverse. Long short, short? The “hay” is in the barn! I’ve done all the work required to finish my first 100 mile race. But now, comes the really hard part…


Over my many years of marathoning, I’ve become quite familiar with the concept of tapering. Cutting back mileage, and intensity, over the final weeks of training to allow muscle glycogen, antioxidants, immune function and hormones to return to optimal ranges. Repairing muscle damage that occurs during sustained, high-mileage training and getting your body as
rested as possible - so you can maximize your potential on race day.

I understand the “taper concept” fully. However, the benefits of rest don’t come without some odd and annoying side effects.  Anxiety and sleeplessness are my two biggest taper issues. Energy and nervousness that’s typically burned off during high mileage, is built up with no real or effective method of release. And, unfortunately, my family ends up bearing the brunt of my taper induced crankiness.

The other issue I commonly deal with during a taper is less head and more muscle-related. These “aches”, for lack of a better word, seem to pop up more during the taper than during the actual training itself. I don’t know if it’s a matter of the muscles repairing themselves, or that they just don’t react well to being under-worked. Either way, the tightness and tenderness that occurs never fails to sound the worry-wort alarms.

Add to that all the variables, unknowns and insane physical/emotional logistics of running my first 100 mile (24 hour) race and this taper is shaping up to push an already borderline crazy person off the deep end!

And so, with less than 2 weeks to go until Ghost Train, my training schedule says that I’m supposed to reduce my training volume of nearly 70 miles per week down to 52, and then again down to (gulp!) 34.

Wish me (and my family) luck. We’re definitely going to need it!

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