April 15, 2011

Marathon taper starts with Sun Run

After a final long run on Monday, see my previous post, I'm ready to start the taper for the Vancouver Marathon. With 19km at marathon race pace on Monday morning, I wasn't so sure how my legs would feel for the interval session on Tuesday evening.

However, 36 hours of rest is a decent amount, and I've often (not always) found that legs that appeared tired from a long run can be on fire for some speed work a couple of days later.

Our Squamish Titans run coach had a track session planned for us. It was a cool and dry evening, which drew at least 15 runners. After a good warm-up on trails near the track, we did a few light static and dynamic stretches as coach Roger explained the workout, aimed at sharpening.

It was a ladder, in which we'd run 200m, 400m, 600m, 800m, 1000m, and the same way back down to 200m. The goal was to, if possible, dial it up for the second half. We had 1 minute rest between each one, though 2 minutes after the 800m and the 1000m.

I started conservatively, and hit the first repeat on in 43 seconds. I stuck close to that pace for the following repeats until the 1000m. I went out a little harder on this one, hoping it wouldn't come back to haunt me in the final 4 repeats, and was stoked to finish in 3:35.

Feeling good, and lifted by the commitment and dedication by the other runners, I was able to squeeze out faster paces for the remaining four repeats. And it felt good!

On the final 200m, all runners went absolutely hell for leather, and most finished that one at least 15 seconds faster than the first one (and I have to add that most did the first 200m pretty enthusiastically). It was such a great track session, and I rested on my laurels on the following day (Wednesday).

On Thursday evening, I did an easy 30mins and today I did another short session, a 10-minute warm-up, followed by six minutes of 30 seconds fast and 30 seconds easy. Saturday is rest/travel/pick up race package day.

This is my first Vancouver Sun Run, as it is for Tim and my sister Angelique. We're part of the PNG Pacers team. The weather for Sunday looks good (knock wood) and I cannot wait to race with about 50,000 others! Tim and I did Sydney's City to Surf several times, the 14km run from High Park to Bondi Beach which last year drew a record 80,000.

Sunday's race is followed by a 5km time trial on Tuesday, so one or both events will give me a good final indication (hopefully confirmation) of my planned Vancouver Marathon pace. I'm looking to at least break 41mins on Sunday and hopefully even make it back to sub-40, traffic allowing.

With the chilly weather, I'll bring some throwaway clothing that I can keep on until shortly before the start, since you want to be in your area on time in a race of this magnitude. Check out the start area map here

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