How's your taper going? If you are running Chicago or another fall marathon in the next couple weeks, that question is relevant to you. If not, please indulge me for a few minutes. The last week or so has provided the kind of weather and running experiences that are part of what I love most about the sport. Fall is the best season!
If you have been training for a marathon, you are either into or about to be into the final stages of the taper period where you get to reduce your mileage, and rest up for the big event. I've often said the taper is my favorite part of marathon training. and given that I've chosen an abbreviated training schedule this year, I almost feel guilty about tapering because I haven't really trained hard enough to feel like I've earned the break! But rest is an essential part of training for endurance events.
As I write this, it's about a week and a half before the Chicago marathon, and I have really only one more run of any consequence planned over the weekend before I pretty much shut down until race day. A friend told me last night of her plans to run 20 miles today. I gently urged her to rethink that plan. There is notihing to be gained physically from a long run at this point in the process, though you can arguably gain some confidence and mental strength from running strong so close to the marathon.
I choose to rest. That started over the weekend when I opted at the last minute to skip a race I really enjoy otherwise. Fort 2 Base is an 11.5 mile race that starts at Fort Sheridan and ends at Great Lakes Naval air base. Since I worked late the night before, I decided sleeping a couple hours later was probably more important than doing another race. So I slept a little later, and ran an easy 14 miles on the Prairie Path near my home. Considering I have been fighting my usual 'pre-marathon cold', it seemed an especially good idea.
Family obligations prevented me from attending a really good pre-marathon event Sunday. Several hundred people filled a theatre at Piper's Alley in Old Town for a seminar presented by Fleet Feet Sports called 'Breaking Through the Wall'. I was one of the panelists a year ago, but they got a substantial upgrade this year!
From left to right pictured are Mike Norman, coach and owner of Chicago Endurance Sports, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, 2008 Olympic marathoner, Carey Pinkowski, Chicago marathon director, Evan Jager, Olympic Steeplechase runner, and Dave Zimmer, owner of Fleet Feet Sports. Nutrician expert Monique Ryan also joined the group.
They covered a variety of topics from hydration and nutrician to pacing and clothing. Below is a link to the website that contains some video of the event as well as some addition information.
I've found that when I have a marathon coming up quickly on the calendar, I focus entirely on that and really don't look past it. So that's probably reflected in this space for the last couple weeks and the next couple. But at some point, I'll have to start thinking about running plans for later October and November. There are plenty more good races coming up, and I'll be looking forward to them. After October 7th.
See you on the roads........