Tapering For Real! Road to Boston Marathon 2015


Telling a runner that you cannot run after 21K, is like saying you cannot walk after a full marathon.

Who does that? Who listens to that? Not a runaholic. And I happen to be perfectly one of the brand.

On second thought, perhaps there is a time when enough is enough! When even a runaholic better go into “Tapper Zone”. For real, I might have said “Tapper Zone” two weeks ago, but never committed to it. Shh! Please don’t tell my Team Coach that I did not listen to his advice. Don’t even blame me for disobeying my coach, it is complicated!

See, I am training away from my fellow teammates, Tufts Marathon Team (TMT) for the Boston Marathon 2015. I am not sure when they started on a training plan, nor each individual projected finish time. My marathon training plan, from one of the run apps I use has me going on longer than my Team Coach’s recommended tapering period/date. So, I decided to follow my run app.

But I am done! Believe me, I did my last long run 20.66 miles this Friday, March 27, which I think is a safe moment to end the long runs, in preparation for marathon on April 20. I am aiming for a better finish time than my last marathon. The marathon plan I am training with has a lower finish time than my target finish time. I am not sure that is advisable? Is it? Hopefully I won’t burn out to d-day.

Talking about burning out, most marathon coaches and pre-scheduled training plans advice to take off the day after a long run. Trouble for me, I have to readjust my schedule to fit my life. A typical marathon training schedule plan goes like this:

Sunday – Long run (combination of fast and steady) Boston Marathon 2015

Monday – Off 

Tuesday – Fast (marathon pace (10miles<)

Wednesday – Slow (under 10)

Thursday – Fast (under 10)

Friday – Off      

Saturday – Slow and short

Looks like a great schedule, right? Except that I have a lil’ ‘handicap’. I cannot do long runs over the weekend because I am the sole CEO of my child, who is home from school over the weekend. When I have occasional help, I go out and do up to 13 miles, but that is not guaranteed. Which means I readjust my schedule to do most of my running during the week, when child is at school.

Monday – Off

Tuesday – Fast (marathon pace 5-8 mi) Sometimes Off

Wednesday – Slow (4-6 mil)

Thursday – Steady/Fast (6-11 mil)

Friday – Long Run Steady and Fast (8-20)

Saturday – Steady (4-8 mil)

Sunday – Off or Steady (8-13mil)

My schedule is a little intense, but it has kind of worked for me. If I have a chance to run on Sunday, then I take off Tuesday. Sometimes I run six days in a row, sometimes take off Wednesday, if I know I can run Sunday. There is no guarantee for Sunday, so I try not to risk a week day, when I am sure I can run.

Generally, I have done well with my schedule, although I have missed a couple of runs due to inclement weather or work schedules that did not allow me time off to run. Sometimes I have made up by running longer distance on the following days, otherwise, I put in a short run. Overall, I have put in quite an impressive mileage per week.

This week, I put in 56.7 miles, my most mileage in a week! I cannot believe that  translates to 91.2 Km. I feel strong at the end of the week. I also did all the scheduled runs for the week, and more. Plus, I did back to back running from Wednesday to Sunday. My long run was on Friday with 20.66 miles, mostly steady with eight miles fast. Ideally, I would have to rest on Saturday, but I decided to go out for a slow run instead, to stretch my legs and relax the sore muscles. Then Sunday, I went on a Steady/Fast eight mile run, and sealed off the week feeling strong again.

I am finally agreeing to go into “Tapper Zone”. I have put in enough long runs, I am not doing any more long runs until Marathon Day, April 20. Now on, I am going for speed and shorter runs. The longest run I have left is 13 miles next week, thereafter will all be under 10 miles.

I do not feel ready, though. I do not feel like I have done enough preparation. I still do not feel plenty of strength. Too much information coming in, is also making me a nervous wreck. I repeat, Ignorance is Bliss, sometimes! All the tips about running, preparing, tapering, nutrition, rest, and more are so much for me! I want to switch off, but then I do not wanna miss anything important.

Today, I received my “Runners Passport”, and all the info I need for Boston Marathon. Totally freaked out. Off to work on more strength, and off to keep the fundraising.

Now, this is the part where I ask you again, to please please support my pledge and responsibility to Tufts Marathon Team to fundraise for Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition, health, fitness and wellness. I would appreciate any donation you can add to support me at https://www.crowdrise.com/doreenlwanga for such a worthy cause. It would boost my running even more!

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