I’m now in the favorite part of my training cycle – The Taper. It seems that most people (or at least most people with blogs) dislike this part of race preparation. I love it. Lower miles, more sleep, less work. What’s not to like? Frankly, I like it so much, I do a 3 week taper instead of the normal 2 weeks. What this means is that my last long run is 3 weeks out instead of 2 weeks from my race. Most people will also cut back their mid-week runs over this period as well, however my non-long run mileage is already so low (16 miles over 6 days) that there’s no point in cutting it back any further. So my weekly mileage drops from 46 miles the prior week to 26 miles this past week to 21 next week. I’ll then run 15 miles in the 7 days before I toe the line at C&O.
Overall, this is a fairly aggressive taper. I know a lot of training plans would still have your mileage much higher vs. prior training volumes and only cut back a lot in the last week. It’s possible that I’ll end up losing some fitness, however my focus is getting 100% healthy before I start my race. I don’t think I’m hurt now, but the extra rest will help with the little niggles that I do have (hamstrings mostly). Last year’s race taught me that it’s much better to be 100% healthy for the longer ultras than to try and push your fitness from 98% to 100%. And based on my training numbers, at best another 30+ mile run might be able to knock 6 seconds a mile or 3 minutes off my 30 mile time of 5 hours. That was my improvement over my last 2 long runs. The risk/reward just isn’t there for me. The physical gains at this point would have a microscopic impact on my ultimate race time. The bigger impacts will be my race strategy, tactical execution, and preparation (nutrition plan, drop bag contents, etc.).
I have 13 more days to kick back, relax, and chill until it’s time to get at it. And I’ll love every minute of it!
Do you love the taper as much as I do?