Monthly Archives: April 2016
We have made it to the taper into Cap City! We are less than 2 weeks from race day and the long training runs are behind us. We have spent 15 weeks building mileage and recovering, then repeating the whole thing. Many of us who had never run more than 3 miles in January are saying things like “I only have 6 miles on the schedule today!” It’s truly amazing how our bodies adapt and our thinking changes over the course of a training season. Taper is the time to allow all of that work to bear fruit. We must run or walk less miles and give our bodies some respite to heal and prepare for race day. It’s a time of less training volume and more recovery. It can be a challenge mentally to give yourself that time and often there’s a drive to do more than prescribed. Resist that temptation and stick to the plan. Remember that following your plan has brought you this far, so give it 10 more days!
The Hay is in The Barn
The “hay is in the barn” was a favorite quote of both MIT/Premier Races founder Jeff Glaze and also 2007 Columbus Marathon winner Robb Kestner. Recently, I was asked to explain that quote so I guess the torch has been passed. As the wife of a 5th generation Ohio farmer this one hits close to home and is a favorite of mine too. Once you get to taper time, either you’ve done the work or you haven’t. There may have been runs that you missed or workout times that you wished you had nailed, but that’s all over now. The collective work that you have put in over the last 15 weeks and the work before the season began, THAT is what will get you through on race day. A few missed workouts here or there will not hurt you. Additionally, trying to cram more work in now that the race is looming cannot help your fitness. It can hurt you though. Once a farmer brings the last bales to the barn and finished putting it up in the haymow that’s it. You can’t change the quantity that was in the field and you can’t change the quality of the grass that went into it. It’s up, your work is over, it’s time to relax and reap the benefits. Take the time to look back at all that work that you’ve put in and I think you’ll realize that your barn is much fuller than you first thought.
Taper Madness – excerpt from 2013 post (read entire 2013 post here)
Often during the taper before a distance event, runners will feel all sorts of new aches and pains. Do not worry, most of these are normal. If something hurts or even feels off, TAKE THE DAY OFF. Don’t run. Just relax and get extra rest. If it still bugs you the next day or so, get in touch with your favorite sports med doc. Most of these aches and pains are your body’s way of rebuilding itself and some of them are in our heads, but not all. If it doesn’t get better with a couple days of rest, see your doctor. Also, stay away from people with obvious illnesses. After long runs, over about 1.5-2 hours our immune systems are a bit compromised. Maybe postpone the outing to the ultra-huge screen cinema until after the race. You want to do the normal things to prevent colds and such during this time: eat well, get good quality sleep, wash your hands, stay away from people who are sick.
How can I make it 2 weeks on less volume?
Running and walking has become routine. It may be the way you wake up and kick start your day, or like me the way to wind down and relieve stress. Tapering doesn’t mean NO running, it just means less running. Enjoy those runs. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. It can be mentally challenging to pull back on your training, but it is worth it. I fill that extra time by catching up with friends and family that may have seen less of me over the training season. Often, the taper is the time to meet up with running buddies over coffee or lunch and talk about something other than running (or just more talk about running). Thank those around you for the giving you the time and space needed to train successfully this past winter.
What NOT to do
Finding ourselves with more free time and feeling less tired, runners begin looking for new outlets. Don’t try a new sport or physically demanding hobby right now. Wait until after race day to pick up Ballroom dance or begin that landscaping project you’ve been meaning to get to. It will still be there in May!
Cap City races are all about celebrating the healthy fitness lifestyle. The training was the hard part, but it has become part of our lives. The races are the celebration of that work and a city that encourages healthy habits. Congratulations on training for a half or quarter marathon or 5k. Truly you are an inspiration to those around you. We all look forward to celebrating YOU on race day. I will be at the finish line cheering you home!
Happy training (and tapering)!
More on tapering here
Spring race season is in full swing. On any given weekend there are numerous races in which you can compete, from 5ks to ultramarathons. The question is should you run a race before the main event at Cap City? I believe that tune up races before a goal race are incredibly valuable. They can be used for many reasons, not the least of which is to simply go through the exercise of race morning in an event in which you don’t have much emotional investment. If you choose to run or walk in a tune up race, determine your goal for that day and stick to it. It can be very easy to go too hard and leave it all out there in that early race, leaving nothing left in the tank come April 30. Determine your goal for the tune up race and be disciplined enough to stick to your plan.
An early race, about 4-6 weeks before your goal event can be successfully used as a race predictor for your goal race (half or quarter marathon). You’d want to run a shorter distance than your goal. For Cap City half marathoners use a 10k or 15k tune up race. For quarter marathoners, run a lead up 5k or 4 miler. There are many race prediction calculators out there that allow you to put in your race time at one distance and then predict your time/pace at a different distance. They all make assumptions of some kind, but I find that a race within the last 6 weeks (but no closer than 2 weeks before) gives the best prediction because you are in good shape and ready to race. I have my own tables and estimates, so if you want a personal prediction feel free to email me. Note that your pace for your goal race will be slower than the shorter tune up race.
Maybe you don’t want to race or run hard in an early event but would like to get a feel for how you will perform on April 30. In those situations, I like to use the tune up race as a pace specific workout. Half marathoners would run a 10k or 15k with the first few miles at your easy run pace. With 3 or 4 miles to go, gradually pick up the pace to your planned half marathon pace. Quarter marathoners should pick a 5k or 4miler. Run the first mile easy then pick it up the last 2-3 miles for your planned quarter marathon pace. Feel how your body responds to that pace. Is it comfortable? It should be for 3 or 4 miles (or 2-3) at this point. If not, think about reevaluating your pace goal for your goal. Are you trying to run something that is faster than your current fitness level? If it feels good, remember that feeling. Use the finish line of this first race to prepare you for your goal race finish line feeling strong.
Practice Race Day
Even if Cap City was scheduled to be your first ever race, a tune up race is a good idea. You will simply go out and run the miles that are on the schedule for the weekend at your NORMAL easy long run pace. The only difference is that you will be doing it in a race setting. There’s no better way to get over the race jitters by having gone through everything already in an early race. You’ll practice your morning routine, warmup, and timing of the trip to the porta potty. Additionally, it’ll give you a chance to practice running in a group and drinking/eating on the run. Practice how you will go through aid stations. Are you planning on running through them and drinking while running, or slowing to a walk to get your drink. Drinking on the run takes practice and better to learn how NOT to get Gatorade up your nose now, then on Cap City day!
Schedule The Miles – How to fit a tune up race into the training plan
Good news! The Scioto Miles Training Series was developed specifically to get athletes ready for Cap City. It features a 5k loop course and runners can choose to run 5k, 10k, or 15k. If you are following the Cap City online training schedules here’s how to adjust:
Beginner half marathoners – take Saturday off or very easy 2 miles, run the 10k on Sunday, take Monday and Tue off (no running), and then pick back up with the schedule on Wednesday as written.
Intermediate half marathoners – run very easy 2 miles on Saturday, run the 10k or 15k on Sunday, take Monday and Tue off (no running), and then pick back up with the schedule on Wednesday as written.
Quarter marathoners – take Saturday off or very easy 2 miles, run the 5k on Sunday, take Monday and Tue off (no running), and then pick back up with the schedule on Wed as written.
As we draw ever closer to race day, the nerves and questions may start to crop up. That’s what we are here for, so feel free to email me or join our Twitter chat tomorrow at noon EDT using #CapCityHalf. I cannot wait for race week to meet all of you and celebrate YOU at the finish line.
Aimee – firstname.lastname@example.org