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Taper Nation

It’s taper time. I had a baby in June and am now running faster than I’ve ever ran before (in my workouts at least, still need to test it out at a race!)

I know I’m not the first person that’s happened to, I’ve heard it 1,000 times, you come back stronger after having a baby. True. But at first, it’s hard. To go from running most days for the past 15 years, even through your pregnancy to taking 6 mandatory weeks off, is a shock. The first few weeks back were tough- 5 miles felt like 20.

In November, four months post baby, I ran the Monumental Marathon, knowing it probably wouldn’t be a record breaking day. I did let the thought creep into my head a time or two that I was tougher than before and maybe I could sneak in a little PR. (didn’t happen, and I don’t even want to talk about the miserableness of the second half of that race)

Four weeks later I ran Rehoboth Beach Marathon. Although it was not a PR, it was the best marathon I’ve ever ran. My goal for the race was to have a realistic race strategy and run a negative split. A PR wouldn’t have meant much to me if I didn’t learn the value of being mentally tough and calculated about the race. I needed that race to teach myself discipline and belief that if I would stick with a plan and I put the work in, I could get it done successfully. There isn’t just one right way or one wrong way to race, but there are many smart ways and not so smart ways. I needed to teach myself how to race smart.

Now that that’s happened- now is when the PR is going to be meaningful and it’s going to make sense. I’m sure that I have a PR in me regardless of how I run the marathon, but I don’t want to be on the strugglebus for the entire last 6 miles of the race. YES, if I am racing to my fullest potential, the last 6 miles will hurt, but they don’t have to hurt in a hopeless way.

The ultimate goal is a big PR at the Shamrock Marathon- two weeks from tomorrow. This is perhaps the longest training cycle I’ve ever done for a marathon and most certainly the hardest I’ve ever worked. 

This past week has been my first of three taper weeks, I will finish the week running 38 miles, a far cry from the 60 I ran last week. Part of me thinks it’s too low, but I’ve still had two intense runs and I just missed a couple of miles here and there. (Tired legs, crying baby, not willing to run after baby’s down)

I know I need to believe in the taper, but like my doubts during the recovery weeks, it’s hard to imagine running so fast for so long when 8 minute miles for 6 miles seems kind of long on days like today.

What I need to remember- right now my legs are tired, because I just trained hella crazy for 16 weeks. I’m tapering so I can use all that built up training for game day. In two weeks. The work is done, and the waiting game continues for two more weeks.

I’m so excited to see what I can put out there, but can’t help but feeling crazy nervous. A run is a run. I’m confident that on last week’s 20 miler, I could have finished 26.2 at the pace I had ran for the 20… which if I did that would bring me a big PR. BUT, I honestly hope I can bring more to the table than that. Surely I can RACE 26.2 on tapered legs faster than I can run 20 on non-tapered legs during a training run. On the last two miles of the 20, when I wanted to speed up (even though it did hurt) to finish strong, I reminded myself, this isn’t the race. Save it for the race. Guess we’ll just to see what I bring to the table. Hoping for confidence, strength and power.

Anyone else tapering right now?

Do you enjoy taper time? Get anxious like me? 
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