Sunday, August 21, 2011

Taper Time

I was super excited to receive my Team USA gear this week.  Thanks USATF!

Throughout my running career, I’ve heard many folks complain about how difficult it is to back off the training and rest.  They claim to get restless and fidgety, bouncing off the walls with excess energy that is usually absorbed by intense training.  They can’t wait to be done with their break and get back to work.  I don’t understand.  I certainly don’t have this problem.  I’m beat and it’s time to taper.  And you know what?  I am absolutely looking forward to the rest.

If you are one of those people who can’t seem to enjoy your recovery, maybe you weren’t training hard enough in the first place.  Or maybe you need your head checked.  Maybe it’s the fact that downtime for me still means at least 50 miles a week and not stepping completely away from running.  Maybe you don't understand how important proper recovery is to advancing your fitness level.  Or maybe it’s just me.

I’m ready to not feel like a zombie anymore.  I’m looking forward to having fresh legs again.  I want to step out the door and run easy because the schedule says I’m supposed to, not because my body gives me no choice.  And I’m looking forward to the easy runs that turn into light tempos just because it feels good.

Rest is an integral part of the training plan.  If you train hard, but don’t allow your body to recover, then you never have a chance to rebuild and become stronger.  So go ahead, relax a little.  And don’t feel guilty.  You've earned it, right?  I know I have.

That’s my rant for the week.  Now let’s talk shop...

Monday was just easy mileage coming off of last weekend’s back-to-back long runs.  I headed to the track Tuesday but kept things very controlled.  6x1600m w/400m jog recovery averaging 5:10.   The legs were definitely tired, but it wasn’t a hard workout. 

After an easy run Wednesday, I cranked out another quality workout on Thursday.  3x5k in 17min (5:30 pace) w/2min recovery on a flat bike path.  That was a toughy.  Lots of little things were conspiring together trying to ruin this workout.  I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I had to push a little harder than I would have liked to keep this one on pace.  I did this workout as a dress rehearsal in my Team USA uniform just to make sure no unexpected issues cropped up on race day.  That was very motivating for about half a mile, but reality set it in shortly thereafter and I found that the team USA singlet unfortunately does not confer superhuman abilities. 

I took it easy Friday and got in 20 miles on Saturday but actually felt a little better.  Sunday was a 25 mile long run which I normally would have tried to run in a progressive fashion, but felt that a little discretion would be wise on this particular day.  I thought there would be little to gain and a lot to lose if I tried to force my tired legs through a hard effort this close to the World 100k.  I was tired, but I made it through with a little help from some friends.

That closes out one of the most aggressive weeks of training in my running career reaching 110 miles including two hard speed workouts on just 7 runs.  But more than that, the past 3 weeks have been an incredibly solid period of training that has left me understandably tired.  It’s now time to bring down the mileage and ease off the speed just a bit. 

I’m confident, fit, and excited about the 100k.  I really believe the US men’s team has a good chance to improve on last year’s second place finish to Japan, and I hope I can be a scoring member of the team that brings home the gold.

1 comment:

  1. "I’m beat and it’s time to taper. And you know what? I am absolutely looking forward to the rest."

    AMEN BROTHER! Bonus: my wife likes being around me again....and I might even have energy to wrestle with my boys.

    Looking forward to following your progress at the Championships. Quoting Christopher Walken: "Represent!"