Happy Feet? No, I’m not a dancing penguin, I’m a runner.

Progressing toward a month of over 100 miles of training, and very few days off from work, my feet are tired.  I have had to work very hard to get them some rest.  Elevation has helped a lot, as well as spending some quiet evening on the couch.

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As I struggle through the final days of training for my next marathon in a little over two weeks, my focus now is more on rest and recovery.  I need to make sure that my body is ready to conquer the next 26.2.  It was a beautiful morning today, and cool.  It was the type of morning that just screams get out and run.  I refrained.  I plan on running a smooth and pace focused five miler tomorrow morning, and I’ve run four days in a row.  Time for a rest day.

Vacation is looming.  Getting on the jet plane on Saturday morning, my thoughts are all about vacation.  I’ve worked six straight days, and work tonight, tomorrow and Friday before I can breath  a sigh of relief.  Can you believe that?  I have to work 9 days in a row leading up to vacation.  Well, most of the battle has been fought already, just three shifts to go.  The problem is that I work on my feet.  I don’t have a cush desk job.  My job is physical and demanding on my feet.  I know how to take care of them though.  This is nothing new to me.  

So my final wind down/taper is upon me.  Wow, can’t believe I haven’t even thought about how this is taper time.  Usually I go mad during the taper, but this time I will have vacation to distract me from taper blues.  

How long do you taper prior to a big race?  How do you fill those empty hours that you would have been out running?  I do know one thing, I am hoping for Happy feet come September 13th.  Happy hamstrings, too!  😉

Marathon training – almost there

Wrapping up another week of training, the countdown seems to be ticking away faster and faster.  I don’t know about you, but the tediousness of a long marathon training plan sometimes makes me feel like race day will never get here.

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Now just 39 days away from my BQ attempt, I have to say that training is going about as well as I can expect it to.  We had a nice break from the heat here in NC over the past five days which really helped.  I got in some quality runs, mixing in a lot of downhill work along the way.  I have to say, looking back at my training last Summer, I am certainly not putting in the miles this year like last year.  Last year in July, I ran over 110 miles.  This year like 83.  I really think the difference being that I have run five marathons this year already, and my body is still sort of in recovery mode.  Last year that wasn’t the case.  I’ve been hampered more than I care to admit by hamstring issues.  Yes, lingering issues.  Looking back at some older blog posts, I mention my hamstrings hurting damn near nine months ago.  I’ve been struggling with them, and I know it hampers my pace.  Sometimes I just can’t get loose, or it takes me a few miles before I really can get up to speed on a run.  I tell myself, just get over it, and run, but sometimes it just really is irritating, literally.

Enough about that.  It is what it is.  I will survive.  I go on vacation at the end of this month, and I will get my rest then.  I don’t plan on running at all while on vacation, so these next 25 days are really the final stretch of training.  I plan on meaningful and impactful runs mostly revolving on the downhill work.  I will try to get in two final long runs, but nothing over the top.  I know I can do the distance, and I don’t want to injure myself in an attempt to “get the miles in”.  I must arrive at August 30th feeling that I gave it my all. When I return from vacation, all I will do is some short maintenance runs in the five days leading up to my trip to Utah.  I want my legs to be fresh, and ready to take that downhill marathon by storm.

So, with a vacation involved in the final stages of this training plan, I have a taper built in.  What a great way to taper, too.  I really need this vacation.  The benefits a vacation will have on my mental game will help me too during the final stretch.

So, how is your training going?  How many days until your big race?  How do you like to taper?

Marathons Are Tiring – Run or Rest?

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A week has now passed since running the All American Marathon.  My body is still recovering.  My legs are still sore, and I have this overall sense of just being battered and worn down.  Marathons are not easy.  Marathons are taxing on the fittest of bodies.  I have to remind myself over and over again that feeling worn down is normal.

The problem is that I don’t like feeling worn down.  Like today for instance.  It is a beautiful day, I have the day off from work.  I should be going out for a run today, and be looking forward to it.  I will run, but I know that my legs will not be happy.  Knowing that sort of impedes my desire to get out and do the thing that makes me feel renewed and rejuvenated.  It’s a quandry.

To rest.  To recover.  To run.

It’s maddening.  The very thing that makes me feel alive, is tiring me out.  It’s probably why I have been in a fairly constant bad mood the past few days.  I need that exercise to get the blood pumping.  I need that freedom that running gives me to make my mind sore.  To uplift me, to free me from the doldrums.

What do you do when you are tired, or sore, or injured?  Unable to run, or run as much as you would like to.  How do you get through recovery without going absolutely batshit?  You would think that I would be better at dealing with this by now, I mean, I have been running for a few years now.  I should have a pretty good grasp on this by now.  Quite the contrary, at least this week.  Help!  How do you manage recovery?

Taper Crazed!

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Officially in full on taper mode today and for the remaining three days leading up to the Charleston Marathon this Saturday.  Don’t mind me, I am in a bad mood.  Steer clear, I am going to be a real dictator at work today.  Back off, I don’t feel like listening to your useless banter today.  I’d rather be running than listening to your petty gripes and complaints.

Do you ever feel this way?  Does tapering for a big race just mess with your moods?  I think it’s the combination of nervous energy that has nowhere to go, and a heightened sense of irrational behavior as a result.

I really want to run, but my body needs rest.  My feet are used to moving, but I must try to keep them still.  All runners must experience a varied mix of strange behaviors leading up to the big day.  For me, the change in routine is what really gets to me.  Sets me off.  I am used to routine.  Being off kilter is irritating to me.  The mix of nerves and calm without my normal way to relieve them is tough to get used to.  This usually results in a combination of me being more quiet, or just a general lack of patience.  Self reflection, thinking, planning in my head.  I usually become more antisocial.  Wow!  I guess I could be considered a real A$$hole in the days before a race.

I actually think I am better at tapering now than I have been in the past.  I now realize how the rest is beneficial to my body, and letting my muscles revive themselves before the race.  The longer the race, the more important the taper.  This coming Saturday is my ninth marathon, so I should be pretty used to this by now, right?

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Right now I am undecided as to how many more miles I will put in before the race.  I ran 3.1 miles yesterday.  The run felt good, but slow. Slow is ok though, I must keep in mind.  The important thing is that I got out there and moved.  Lucky or not, this morning the weather has not cooperated for a run.  So, today, I am not running.  Maybe tomorrow I will run one last 2-3 miler.  I’m thinking of taking both Thursday and Friday off completely, and trying to keep me feet up in the evening.  Taking the last few days off before a marathon has worked for me in the past, so I am going to use what I’ve learned.

The start of the Charleston Marathon is just 4 days away……

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As much as I look forward to a big race, tapering is tough.  How do you deal with the taper?  How long do you taper?  Do you find yourself in a completely different state of mind in the last week leading up to a distance race?  How do you keep yourself calm, and ready at the same time?

I think for me, letting my body rest naturally leads to more reflection.  Thoughts about how my training has gone.  Thoughts about my race plan, and how I plan on tackling the race course.  My brain works harder during taper than my legs do.  I guess it’s a natural reaction, and the best thing I can do to be both physically and mentally prepared for race day.  Excitement, nerves, bottled up energy… All things that should get me to the starting line as prepared as possible.  At least that is the way I look at it.

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Today I will try to envision running down the street in this photo.  Part of the marathon course this weekend.  It looks very beautiful, and quiet.  Maybe it will quiet my nerves and settle me today.