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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Accidental Taper

I have had the worst luck with my long runs over the last month.

1. Got totally lost at Peacock Flats (12 mile run instead of 20+)
2. Experimented with Powdered lubricants AND tape, bad idea (10 mile run instead of 20, and blisters)
3. Forgot my GPS and my Sunblock (8 miles instead of 30+)
4. Had to work a weekend. (3 miles around the area instead of 30+)
5. Bleach residue in my Camelbac (8 miles instead of 22, sick stomach)

And the list could go on...

I'm incredibly far behind on my miles for the month and am rapidly coming up on the longest race I've ever attempted. Luckily, my mid-range miles have been excellent. I've fit in a lot of faster, shorter runs more frequently. It's just the time-on-the-trails that I'm seriously lacking.

Last weekend it kind of 'came to head' for me, I was freaking out. I'd signed up for DailyMile, which is kind of a cool gadget to stay motivated, and I happened to look at my monthly summary. Here, I thought I was doing half-way decent on my miles and that one look totally disabused that notion. I was so down that I considered backing out of the 100k. Seriously, if I can't fit in a 30 mile training run, how the heck can I run a race twice that long? I had only completed about half the miles per week that I had scheduled in my training plan.

Mentally, I was done. It was a week before the race even started and I knew I couldn't finish it.

Then I was at Runner's HI picking up a couple things for last weekends long run (forgot the GPS and sunblock) and I had a conversation that changed my perspective. I was telling the sales guy about the twenty miles I had planned for the weekend and the 100k next weekend. He looked at me like I was nuts, "Aren't you supposed to be tapering?" he asked. That little statement snowballed down the slopes of my brain.

It wasn't missed training, it was an accidental taper!

I'd been looking at my lack of miles as "I'm totally unprepared, totally under-trained, and way over my head" when I should have been thinking "Wow, what an awesome taper! My legs feel amazing and I won't be over-trained come race day. I'll be totally rested up!"

I might not be as prepared as I wanted to be, I might not have gotten in the work outs that I wanted to, but as long as I can keep my wits about me... that is, not shooting myself in the foot before the race even starts... than I at least have a chance.

Obviously, I'm planning a very, very conservative race. I'm not under any illusions that I'm going to breeze through this thing. Honestly, I don't know that I can even finish it, but I'm going to go out there and run as smart a race as I can, do as much of it as I can, and have an incredible learning experience no matter what happens.

The 'accidental taper'. It sounds like a cheesy comedy starring Leslie Nielson. It makes me smile, which is far preferable to quaking in my shoes.

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