Taper Time!

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.

Last week's bi-annual run to the shoe & group picture.
Last week’s bi-annual run to the shoe & group picture.

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!

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