peak week is done … hello taper!!!

Last week was my peak week of training for the Richmond Marathon!  I can’t believe it.  It was quite a week!

I ran 101 miles total (this is a very *wow* thing for me), with six days of running and one day of rest.  Every run had a purpose and I listened to my body and let how I felt dictate what the purpose and the goal for each run would be.  This is what it looked like….

Early morning – 11.5 miles solo.  8:15 average pace.  Mostly easy miles, but some race pace miles thrown in there.

Evening – 9 miles.  8:32 average.  I ran the first 3 by myself at goal race pace, and then the next 6 miles with my good friend Cindy at run club before the Pilates class I teach every Monday night.

Early morning – 11.5 miles – easy/recovery run, at a 8:19 average pace.  After Monday’s double (20.5 miles total for the day) even though my legs were feeling fresh and strong I wanted to take it easy because I was planning on a track workout on Wednesday and I wanted to feel good for that.

Mid-morning – 45 minute strength training session, primarily focused on core and upper body.

Early morning – TRACK!  I hadn’t  been to the track in MONTHS.  I was so happy that my good friends Dora and Michiel were up for meeting me there!!  11.5 miles total.  10×800 with 1:00 timed recovery between each set.  I ran these really smart and strong – consistency was the goal and I wanted to hit them between 2:57-3:05.  They came in as follows: 2:59, 2:57, 3:01, 2:58, 2:57, 3:01, 2:59, 3:02, 2:59, 2:58.  I felt really good about this workout, especially with all the miles on my legs these past few days and weeks!

Mid-morning – recovery run – 10 miles all very, very easy (8:38 average).

Early morning – 8.3 miles recovery pace, 9:04 average.  Legs were feeling the soreness and heaviness from yesterday’s workout so I took it really easy.

Mid-morning – Another 7.2 miles recovery pace (9:24 average), pushing Baby Gus in the stroller!  Also did another strength training session at the gym, again easy on the legs and more focused on core and upper body.

These runs were both much slower for me than most recovery runs are, and I felt I had faster in me but I just did not want to be risky knowing how much more I had left in my week.  Nothing felt off or tweaky, just tired.  I wanted flush the gunk out of my muscles and honor the recovery my body needed.

My legs were feeling good and strong again!  But it became an unplanned rest day — Maddie and I met to run 10 miles together, but the weather was totally creepy.  It was very windy and rainy on-and-off and we decided it might not be the best idea to run in those conditions.  So, rather than run we hung out together nice and cozy in Starbucks.  It was a really nice morning!  So funny because we both showed up wearing the exact same outfit!

Early morning – 10 miles nice and easy (7:56 average).  My legs felt really, really fresh and I wanted to run farther and faster, but was saving my energy for Sunday’s long run.

Early morning – Long run!  Wow did I feel good.  22.5 miles total.  First 10 miles easy, then the next 11 miles at marathon goal race pace, followed by 1.5 miles cool down.  Average pace was a 7:18.  I ran 11 miles heading east and really tried to just make it feel extremely easy.  At the start of mile 11 I picked up my pace still heading east and it felt very good and natural going into that 7:00/mile range. This made me happy!  But then after that mile, I turned around to head back west and found that I was running into what felt like a WALL OF WIND.  I was not happy about this … seeing as how I wanted to run the next 10 miles at goal race pace!  Mile 12 was HARD and I didn’t hit race pace or even close to it (at 7:19) but I knew I was working way harder than the pace on my watch.  Thankfully, I found my groove despite the winds though and from there the miles clicked away right where I was hoping they would, if not honestly a bit faster than I had expected.  I felt steady and strong.  And this made me really, really happy.  This is what my splits came in at: 7:33, 7:35, 7:46, 7:42, 7:43, 7:34, 7:22, 7:35, 7:28, 7:24, 7:01, 7:19, 7:06, 7:04, 7:04, 6:55, 6:46, 6:50, 6:46, 6:53, 6:59, 7:48, 7:54 (last .5).

I got home, quickly showered and put on my compression socks and headed to Abby’s soccer games.  Last night I foam rolled as usual (part of my nightly routine) and this morning I woke up with zero soreness in my legs and ran a little more than 7 miles at recovery pace to flush anything out that might be lingering from the huge week I had last week.

I am feeling really, really good.  I never would have guessed that this is what I would feel like after the kind of mileage I have been putting on my body.  I think my body likes this.  I know that sounds silly to some, and probably insane to most, but it is really, honestly and truly, how I feel.

The taper has arrived and Race Day is less than 2 weeks away now!  I am going to do this taper right, and trust in it’s magic and purpose, no matter how crazy it might make me feel some days.  This week I’m planning to run the same number of days that I usually run (6), but lower the volume considerably, almost cutting my mileage in half.  I will plan on a tempo run or mile repeats at the track on Wednesday and then do a long run of probably 12-14 miles over the weekend.  Next week I will take extra rest days and really tone it down over the days leading up to my race.  So that should all make me feel really good and ready to do what I want to do on November 16th in Richmond!!

This whole training cycle I have told myself – take it one day at a time.  Be in the moment – the day, the mile, the step – that I am in.  Push myself forward, and listen to my body and to my heart.  Trusting in where it can take me.  Trusting in what is meant to be, being.  The same goes for the taper and I need to remember that.  Right now I’m just floating on how amazing the experience has been so far, and my heart is full of hope and excitement for all that is possible.  Not just what is possible on November 16th in Richmond, but well beyond that.  Beyond running even.  All that is possible in LIFE.

5 thoughts on “peak week is done … hello taper!!!

  1. So amazed that you ran 101 miles! It sounds like running doubles really works for you, too, as a good way to get in the miles but not overwork your body on any one run. Here's hoping you have a restful, relaxing taper that leaves you feeling confident and strong!! 🙂

  2. Wow! This is amazing. I hope to one day do recovery/easy runs at an 8:30 pace! I would love to know how you build up to eventually doing a week like this, without injury. I love reading your blog! I'm training for a marathon, but I have good weeks and bad weeks – I need consistency!

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