I have now officially been tapering for over a week, though you’d need to keep a very keen eye on Strava to notice. Whilst last week’s overall mileage was about seven miles less than the previous week, I still finished with a 20-mile run on Sunday. I find it hard to consider any week that includes a 20 mile run to be a tapering week. But taper it was as I’d ran 22 miles the previous Sunday.
This 22-miler was the longest run of my training plan and I’m pleased to say it went very well. The idea was to run the first 14 miles slower than marathon pace and the final eight at marathon pace or quicker. Somehow I managed the final miles much quicker and finished strongly. I’m not quite sure how I managed this. Perhaps it’s down to a good training plan and a good coach. Yes that’ll be it. My coach is of course my girlfriend, Rachel, which some might say is a risky strategy. But to be fair it’s all worked very well. Phew…
I incorporated this 22 mile run into the Kingston Half in order to take full advantage of the water stations and marshals. Whilst taking advantage of marshals is frowned upon in some quarters, I was happy to make do with their words of encouragement. In fact when one enthusiastically told me I was almost at mile 10, I felt no need to mention I was actually on mile 19. He would have assumed I was a show-off, or possibly just lost.
Next week’s training will finish with a not-so-long run of a mere 13 miles. That’s one of the great things about marathon training – it makes the half marathon distance seem like an absolute breeze.
However, I’m pleased to be finally tapering as the last few weeks have been the toughest. They were not helped by the weather, where I welcomed the return of the Beast from the East with about as much enthusiasm as a Russian in Salisbury. There were times earlier in my plan when the weather was so bad and icy that I had to resort to the dreaded treadmill. As anyone who has been bored shitless on one of these infernal contraptions will know, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Spring marathons will obviously require winter training, but I think the weather has been particularly unkind this year.
My plan has included six runs of 20 miles or more. Some have told me this sounds tough, but I do not say that, and refer you back to the paragraph about my coach as to the reasons why. Whilst I was starting to feel a bit battered by all the mileage I now feel fine, with very few aches. In fact I could not have asked for the last 13 weeks of training to have gone any better. I am as well prepared as I could hope to be. I know what it’s like when marathon training goes horribly wrong, so I’m pleased I somehow held it together and got though the hard miles this year.
It now seems like a very long time since my name was drawn from the hat in the December 2016 club ballot. But one deferral and 16 months later I’m now impatient for race day to arrive.
So with less than two weeks to ago I have a simple final strategy: eat well, taper well and don’t do anything stupid.
Hopefully I’ll see you at mile 23. Oh and of course, good luck to all the ballot winners and other Eagles running London this year.