It’s all downhill from here – metaphorically speaking, at least. There are only three weeks to go until the Fredericton Marathon and today was my last 32 km (20 mile) run. While there are still a couple of runs in the 20-26 km range left, this was the longest distance in my training and the last time it’s on the schedule. For the next three weeks my total mileage will decrease, my long runs get shorter and I will have extra rest days sprinkled in from time to time.
Tapering is something that I vaguely remember trying in my younger days, although I don’t think I took it very seriously. This was partially because the distances I was racing (5km and 10 km) were considerably shorter and my weekly mileage was also nothing close to what it is now. I’m sure it was also partially due to me being in high school, thought I knew everything and pretty much ate what I wanted and ran when I felt like it. Ah, youth.
My fall taper was different as I pretty much maintained pre-race mileage. Two months prior to the marathon, I was dealing with a knee injury and missed out on almost 3 weeks of running. Fortunately, I have missed very few runs through this cycle and my legs are still feeling great. I was almost hesitant to mention my legs feeling great, less I offend the running gods who then choose to smite me, less than 21 days out.
I’m going to do my best to enjoy the next couple of weeks and listen to my coach, my wife and all of my fellow runners who have already all repeatedly reminded me to trust my training. I know that feelings of weird tweaks and pains (and panicking about them), boredom (from less hours running) and hunger (from your metabolism telling you that you need more food, even though you really don’t) are all going to happen. If any of them don’t, all the better.
I do know that there a lot of people out there dealing with far tougher challenges and I am going to remind myself of that every time I start to whine. I have met and talked to so many runners who are currently battling illness, injury, personal loss or who have dealt with any and all of those things before and would never complain about the trivial issues associated with tapering. I’m truly lucky to be able to participate in this amazing sport and to have met so many inspirational people.
All of that being said…I am kinda hungry.