April 20, 2012

A final 10K as the taper has begun

So, my taper for the BMO Vancouver Marathon has started. And with that, another marathon training campaign is almost done and dusted. While the hard yards have been taken care of, the final three weeks before the goal race are still challenging enough. As the total mileage per week decreases, the intensity in sessions is kept.

This week I'm running about 110K, including a 10K race on Saturday. It's a low-key event, I think, so I will bring Mr Garmin to verify the distance. Still, the benefit will be the effort, rather than the result. My plan is to build into it, and see where that takes me. As far as I can tell, it's a pretty flat lap around Stanley Park so that should be great.

As always, though especially in these final three weeks before the race, it's important to stay healthy, to rest as much as possible—mentally too, to eat and hydrate well, and to focus on the big day ahead.

Now is the time to prepare yourself to get the most out of the hard training you've done. It's time for visualization, to watch yourself running the goal you've set out to achieve.

"The most important use of visualization in running ... is to boost your confidence," writes Alberto Salazar in Alberto Salazar's Guide to Road Racing. "Psychological research has conclusively demonstrated that people who see themselves succeeding are more likely to do so than those who visualize themselves as failing." 

"However confident you may be a week before the race, doubts mount as the start draws near... Particularly worrisome are tiny aches and pains that you'd never noticed if you weren't thinking about the race."

My level of confidence about my running is high at the moment. I am a different runner than I was nearly four months ago on January 1; there's a renewed understanding of marathon training and my body's ability to progress. 

An athlete trains to progress to a new level of training; it's an adaptation that takes years. 

Races are part of that training. In this marathon build-up, I have raced three half marathons, and three 10Ks (including tomorrow's event). Both training and racing are skills an athlete needs to develop; you need to learn when to push and when it's better to hold back. I have run my two best half marathons by beginning them at marathon goal race pace, i.e. a slower starting pace.

Vancouver will be my 16th marathon. I expect it to be my best, for several reasons including the fact that I have run my fastest 10K and half marathon times in the past month. At each of those races—the First Half, the Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run and the Vancouver Sun Run—I have been inspired by other women, by now familiar faces though I don't know them.

Their performances excite me and it's superb to ride this wave of potential. I know some will be running the Vancouver marathon too. We're all training hard, aiming get the best out of ourselves, and when those efforts pay off, it's rewarding not just for the individual runner but for others too as it underpins the belief that anything's possible.

While there are no guarantees you can surge to the level of another runner, it serves to remove self-imposed limitations by lifting the bar of potential. 

By and large my training for Vancouver has gone well. In the last week of March, I missed more sessions than I would have liked but it wasn't a dramatic interruption of my training. For the month, I ran 489K—after 498K in January and 519K in February.  

So far in April, I have done weeks of 112K and 100K, before hopefully finishing up this one at about 110K as mentioned above with a 27K long run on Sunday.

1 comment:

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