Thursday, March 4, 2010

Taper Madness - Day 2

I got out for my planned six miler late in the afternoon yesterday. I was pretty sneaky. The wind was blowing onshore (happens a lot in the afternoon as the rising air over the land draws the cooler air off the ocean). In my earlier days I would have put the miles in. Screw the wind. But demonstrating my higher intelligence (well, okay, the fact that it took me about a year and a half to catch on), I headed up the road so that I would be running the first three miles into the wind, which of course meant that the way back to the car would be with a tailwind. I'm not sure it helped that much, except to make it feel like the second half of the run was easier. Ah - the power of the mind. Final stats - 6 mile at an average pace of 9:29, 78% of MHR.

Speaking about the power of the mind - it's time to exercise mine a little during taper madness. This will be my third time doing 26.2. The first time was pure hell. The only thing that I was sure about was that I needed to do another to get the monkey off my back. The second time was better, but there was still a lot of experimenting going on right up to the start line (and maybe even beyond). I know I could have benefited from more planning. Anticipating what could go wrong before the race will leave you more prepared to deal with catastrophes during the race. Anyone who has been there knows what I mean. So, what I thought I would do here for the next couple of weeks is, with the help of yesterday's article and my own experience, show you how I am dealing with taper madness.

As we wind down the miles in week 1 of taper, there are a number of things we can do to get mentally ready:

  1. Weather - It's time to start watching the weather. March weather can be such a crap shoot here in L.A. Average temperature is 70. Record for March 21 is 93. Rainy season won't quite be over. Um yeah. The start time is late (7:30 AM), and by the time my wave hits the start line, it's likely to be 7:45 or 8:00 AM. This means that I will be finishing around 12:30 to 1:00 in the afternoon. The last thing I want to do is be overdressed at the start and suffer later on as the sun comes out and the course heats up.
  2. Goal pace: I'm going to start practicing running at goal pace if I'm not doing a tempo run. I need to run by feel. Right now I don't know that feel. Starting Sunday, if I'm too fast, I *will* slow down. No reason to be setting practice records at this point. It's always too easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and to go out way too fast. Believe me (experience speaking here) - it will come and grab you in the butt later on.
  3. Clothing and gear: The carnal sin on race day is to be doing the race in something new. This weekend's long run will be done in the same shorts, shirt and socks that I used for Long Beach - not because I'm superstitious, but because I need to check them out to make sure that nothing has changed (either my body or the clothing) that is going to result in chafing. Believe me - I will be in enough pain. Chafing is the last thing I need.
  4. Shoes: This is also the time to take stock of my shoes. My race day shoes currently have 271 miles on them. I have 95 miles left on the plan (including race day). I alternate shoes during training, which means I'll have around 320 miles on my race day pair. I typically put about 400 miles on shoes, so I should be safe.

So there you go. Enough to keep me busy for a couple days. On the schedule today - hill repeats. Six of them. Hey! Aren't I supposed to be tapering?


  1. wow!!! u sound amazing!!! Your checklist is perfect! you will do great!!!Please stop by

  2. LUCKY!!! My taper starts Monday, with a 20 miler on Sunday. 2 weeks and counting. Can you believe it??

  3. Way to go glenn. I still have my last long run. 20 miles this weekend. F! ha ha. glad you are in the right mode and you'll do great in la :)

  4. Enjoy those hill repeats Glenn!! It looked like such a nice day out here at least!

    Third time's the charm for marathons??? You will do great! Hopefully it wont be too hot!

  5. For me, pace is going to be the biggest issue. Clothing, shoes, fueling I'm good with. My biggest concern at this point is how to trick my mind and body into finishing 26.2 miles, working on a plan now. Hoping weather is not an issue.

    I am a bit nervous and excited!

  6. Running into the wind on the way out is so smart. That's a quick pace! Nice work.

    My dad always wore the same thing on race days. I think part of it was that the outfit was "tested" and the other part was mental. If you're wearing your race day clothes, you know you're ready to go. (It reminds me of shaving for big swim meets.)

    Enjoy the taper! Good luck with the hills!

  7. I'm about am messed up as the most severe mental patient in a hospial during taper time. What helps me is to make a list of all my anxiety and list who has control of it and how I can control what I can. Pacing is always the hard part for me in a marathon, be sure to get this one down! One of my favorite books is called: Brain Training for Runners, it talks a lot about how to accept pain as part of the whole experience. I think you can get it pretty cheap on Amazon if you haven't read it. Everything is going to come together just fine - I can feel it !!! :)

  8. hahah sounds like your BRAIN is doing everything but tapering. And I don't even do hills during training, let alone during taper time. :p

    Thanks for your comments about my LR pace. I'm actually shooting for 9-9:10 pace for my marathon, so I'm pretty close with the +:30 of 9:35. Plus I'm sure the pace will slow down for the 18 & 20. I truly appreciate all your words of wisdom though, so keep throwing em at me. Just don't want you to think I'm being a ding dong. :)

  9. Hi Glenn,
    Welcome to taper mode!! You are doing so good and keeping a great pace even with the wind:) You will probably PR for this race too!! I am going to be your bloggie cheerleader!! Go Glenn!!

  10. taper does not = laziness now :) gotta keep up some of the intensity while backing off on quantity.

    sounds like you are surviving, not that I think you wouldn't!