I’ve never understood it when people say they find tapering hard. You hear mutterings of people feeling lethargic and irritable, desperate to put on their trainers and get out the door. I am not this person. I love the taper. What’s not to love about spending evenings with your feet up, eating large bowls of pasta, and throwing in a slow 3 miler every now again, just to keep the legs ticking over? It sounds quite appealing to me, and it’s what I intend to do for the next 2 and half weeks.
Last week was my highest mileage week, with a total of 46 miles covered, and I can safely say I was absolutely knackered by the end of it.
I think the aforementioned “hilly” 20 mile run, followed by a tough track session had tired me out more than I had realised, and even after a week off due to work and injury (and an on- going pulled muscle in my thigh), my legs were still really heavy and my thigh hurting.
On Wednesday I did a marathon pace 12 mile run, which despite the heavy legs, actually felt fine. This was the first time in a while I’d done a long run on my own, and with my iPod out of charge I felt quite lonely but plodded on all the same.
At the weekend I went out with T.I.Ts RC girls. Bex and I met the girls at Clapham Common and we did a lovely run past the Houses of Parliament and along the river. The sun was shining, and it was one of those perfect running days. We ended up covering 8 miles while chatting and enjoying the views of London. When we got back, I was slightly dubious about how I was going to manage 20 miles the next day as my legs were heavy and I was generally tired… I was right to be dubious.
We decided to head down to my parents house in East Sussex for the weekend, and do our long run in the country. We’d heard about “The Cuckoo Trail” which is a footpath along an old disused railway line. It advertises itself as a nature trail through stunning countryside. I didn’t see much countryside and the only nature I saw was the occasional dog and its owner.
Cristiano and I had decided to run separately as he needed to do his run at a slightly faster pace. I had stupidly forgotten my iPod again, so had a very long, lonely run ahead of me. The run was literally a straight path for 10 miles, turn around and run back. There may well have been some beautiful countryside but the path was lined with trees so we couldn’t see any of it. It really was a very depressing long run. I actually resorted to making up motivational songs to keep myself going. Think along the lines of “Simply the best”, but adding Jess in to make it personalised. It really was quite tragic. I suppose there were a few plus points. I couldn’t get lost, and I didn’t need to stop multiple times to cross roads etc. If I can run 20 miles on tired legs, with no external stimulation whatsover, I should probably be able to run the marathon where hopefully they’ll be sights galore to keep me interested.
I ran the 20 miles a minute slower than marathon pace at 9.55min/mile. I really couldn’t imagine running it any faster, but let’s hope a 3 week taper will do the job…
So, what does my taper involve?
Well, my main concern at present is my leg. I’ve got a pulled muscle in my right thigh, which despite rest and foam rolling, won’t go away. With this in mind, I’m going to taper to the max. I’m going to keep my runs short and slow, and foam roll every day. I’m going to eat well, sleep well and keep hydrated. I’m hoping if I do all these things, perhaps the marathon will go to plan.
Right, so with tapering in mind, I’m off to put my feet up…
Do you enjoy the taper?
Any advice to help my leg would be much appreciated! Would a sports massage help or hinder?!