The time is finally here – taper time! I finished up my long runs with a 12 miler this morning followed by breakfast with some of the runners in my pace group. Autumn came in fast this morning with temperatures in the 40s, but a “feels like” temperature of 38. The wind really made it brisk, but it was a good long run to prepare in case conditions are similar on race morning. I’ve been enjoying a relaxing day on the couch in my sweats watching football.
I didn’t update as much during this training cycle because it was honestly kind of a boring training cycle. I did almost no speed work and kept my weekly mileage low to keep my PF from flaring up. Last week I did a 4 mile run at race pace and it felt really good. My long runs have also been very comfortable since the cool weather has arrived.
There have been some benefits to this training cycle. Since I was working with an “injury” (I use injury loosely since PF isn’t quite like a traditional injury) this time around, I threw any hefty time goals for the race out the window. This allowed me to focus on slowing down during my weekly runs. While I was never a runner that was getting a PR on a mid-week run, I would generally run by feel and would actually be running too quickly even though I felt great. I’ve now learned the difference in feeling between a comfortable pace and a relaxed, easy pace. Every once in a while I glance down and notice I am going too fast, but overall I have been very consistent with my pace.
Even though dealing with injuries this year stunk, it was a relief to find out that they were because of my hip alignment and not necessarily something I was or blatantly wasn’t doing. Now that I know what the issue is, I can start to make adjustments to my training accordingly. Talking with my chiropractor last week, we discussed that there are some things that I can work on to safely transition into marathon running next year. He is interested in helping me make that transition so I can avoid being injured. I am thankful I discovered the cause of my injuries now and not when I was in the heat of marathon training – that’s not the time to find out your hip alignment is so off that it messes with your leg! Since working with my chiropractor and adding in some specific exercises, I have been moving back towards feeling “normal” sore after my runs instead of injured sore.
So, what are my goals for my upcoming half marathon? This was something I was asked twice this morning. I’m not really sure, I am going to wait and see how I feel that morning. I plan to finish under 2 hours, I know that won’t be an issue (unless something horrible happens between now and then or during the race). As far as a specific time goal goes, I don’t have one. I really just want to enjoy this race and finish strong.
After the race, I plan to take a week off completely from all exercise (this is how I reward myself!) and then do 3 weeks of cross-training only. Then I’ll move into some extremely low-mileage running for the rest of the off season. I’m talking 9-10 miles of running total a week mixed with some cross training. I like to keep things simple during the holidays and I am hoping that 4 weeks off from running will help my PF finish healing up.
So here I go – I only have 22 miles left to run over the 2 weeks until the half marathon. I am really, really looking forward to the upcoming opportunity to sleep in!