This is the first time I have followed a specific training plan to get ready for a race and I have been sticking to it religiously for 16 weeks now. As with all good training plans, the last couple of weeks are taper weeks down to the big day.
I didn’t expect that this portion of the training would be the hardest, given the last 16 weeks of relentless miles in the rain or blazing sunshine and bouts of HIIT, tempo runs and hill repeats! You look at the mileage layout during the taper and think that they are going to be the best two weeks ever, with the chance to lie in once again rather than be out the door by 5am to get 10+ miles in before work and the option to do lots of yoga and stretching and feel brilliant. Not so. I am really struggling.
I know that this is part of the plan for a reason, to make sure you go into race day with fresh legs that are still conditioned and ready to do the job, but aren’t so out of practice that they don’t know what on earth is being asked of them.
But instead of enjoying this stage, I feel like I am losing fitness and muscle tone and have had every manner of niggle which I haven’t ever felt before during two years of consistent running. I felt so much stronger, physically and mentally, two weeks ago when I was still doing long runs of 20 miles on Sundays and covering over 60 miles in the week.
Is this normal?
No matter what, I am sticking to the plan, eating and fueling the same way as I have throughout and trusting that someone who knows much better than I do put this plan together in good faith. I am not going to give in and run a bit further or a bit harder than the plan says, but I’m not entirely happy about it!
(Spookily, as I was just in the process of uploading this blog post, Runners World simultaneously tweeted this
article about Taper Madness! So perhaps I am normal, after all?)