Marathon Training Week 15 – Racing and Tapering

The taper is a funny beast. Once finally in this last stage of training it seems as though everything is out to get you, and you don’t want to do anything that might jeopardise your race that you’ve worked so hard towards.

My plan appears to be a fairly standard 75%, 50%, 25% taper for the final few weeks, and this week started, as it usually does, with a super easy recovery run to try and shake out the remnants of last week’s shocking long run.

On Tuesday we did the Cooper down at the track and I was grateful that I didn’t have to do any additional miles afterwards. I’ve have recently come to the realisation that I need to try harder on the track, so I was pleased to have gone further than ever before in this fixed 12-minute time trial with a distance of about 3050m.

Thursday was a busy day as I ran to work on a cool and crisp morning. Thankfully the session was shorter than in recent weeks so I didn’t have to leave the house until 7:15. Apparently the little one was having a little tantrum with Mummy and that lasted throughout the day as our childminder mentioned she had seen a different side to our little delight! \m/

I had to dash straight out on Thursday night as I had an appointment with Ben at Guild Sports Clinic to give my legs a quick once over in these final few weeks. My right glute and hamstring continue to give me some issues so it was good to have him work a little magic there whilst easing out a few other knots and niggles.

Saturday was a BIG day as the race of the season happened :- Division 1, Race 1 in the Surrey Cross Country league.

Photo by Bill Laws.
Photo by Bill Laws.

When I first joined GGAC on the XC startline we were in Div 2. That season we were relegated to 3/4 and I only ran one race in that offensive – the one that buggered my knee. However, the Gees led enjoyed back to back promotions, particularly with a stirling year in Div 2. So now we were here with the big boys.

Gavin gave one of his traditional motivational speeches before we lined up for the somewhat confusing start. No one seemed to know which way we we were supposed to be going, and we were waiting for the marshalls to get to their points. Eventually we were off and almost as soon, the thirty-wide body of men were reduced to a path that could only fit three side by side.

I had new spikes in my shoes for the day and given the amount of rain we haven’t had lately I decided to go for the shortest ones I had. This was a wise decision as the going was pretty firm most of the way around the course, save only for a few slightly muddier patches along the river.

Once things had stretched out a bit I could see a number of green vests strung out ahead of me and I tried my best to keep them in my sights. As I tried to work out who they were I was surprised to find myself quite so close to Rajiv and I just new I had to try and keep up. On the second lap Rajiv began to overtake a few runners and I got the sense that he was maintaining a great pace – I just stuck 20 yards or so behind him.

One of the key rules of Gee’s XC running is that no-one overtakes you in the last 800m. I am pleased to say I followed that rule closely and the fella behind me stayed there.

Ultimately the Gees packed really well. Sadly though we packed around the 130-150 positions and our first scorer, Colin, came in after all ten of Kent’s counting runners had finished. So they finished on 218 points, and we finished on 786 – propping up the league as it stands.

Still, I am pretty happy with 4.6 XC miles in 31:59. I’ll take that any day.

This morning, my long run got a lot shorter than in recent weeks and I maintained a lovely steady pace for a good 13 mile run in the sun. All very nice indeed.

Bring on taper week number two.

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