What a grand day to run 22 miles. The weather couldn't be any more perfect; a cool 54 degrees with an occasional breeze. What an incredible journey. I've now ran four 20-milers in training for NY. This has to be my most consistent season as far as goal paced runs are concerned. My training outcomes have been very positive. I am now ready to embark on the taper: 3 weeks of mellow runs and short intense workouts.
Speaking of the taper period, this is the time when most people screw up their training, by either doing too much or too little. I am speaking from experience. The taper is the time when you let your body rejuvenate and recover from all the months of training you've put it through. From 3 to 2 to 1 week before the marathon, you chop off mileage by certain percentage according to your schedule. It is not the time to learn new karate kicks, cross train heavily, lift incredible weights, or paint your barn. It is a time to watch your carb intake because since you've lopped off mileage by a considerable bit, you don't want to gain enormous weight before race day. The name of the game is to keep sharp by doing shorter runs, but at the same time, keeping the same level of intensity as you were in the peak of your training. I've learned the hard way. I've toed the line feeling rusty--all because I let myself go in the last 3 weeks, thinking "Whoo hoo! The hard training is over, now I have license to slack." In the same token, no last minute cramming of workouts, in hopes of squeezing more fitness won't help. All the months of training before this time is what going to get me to the finish line. I must say, tapering counts as one of those exciting occasion that marks a marathon journey. When I reach this period, I have a reason to celebrate all the long hard workouts and to come out injury free. I am almost ready for the big day.