Thursday, January 16

Houston Marathon: Week 15

Week 15 Primary Focus:         Taper
Longest Run To-Date:             12.75mi

After last week's brutal workouts, this week was primarily focused on recovery. But because the race is now so close, this period of recovery is now called "Taper." 

If you recall, I started off this Houston Marathon training in a "Base" phase, focusing on strength and endurance. The goal was to lay a solid foundation on which I could begin increasing the run volume and intensity. After the Base period, we moved into "Build" where I slowly began ramping up the quantity and intensity of the runs. Runs were longer, and harder. This is where the real work was done.


It's at this point during training where tapering occurs. Depending on how fast one can recover, the taper phase can start at different points. Those that take longer to recover may need a longer tapering phase, since you don't want to show up to the starting line on race day fatigued in any way. The timing of tapering can be tricky... by starting too soon, your body will be fully primed and race-day optimal before the actual race. By starting too late, you won't be fully recovered and your race-day performance will suffer.

This is yet again another reason I utilize a coach. It's his job to determine these sorts of things. By looking at my heart rate files and other feedback I give him, he's able to determine the best schedule in which to taper.

Another point about this phase of training is that it's not just simply kicking back on the couch with zero activity. As you can see, this week I still ran, it just wasn't a lot. Some of the runs were active recovery runs to help with the load from last week; other runs were simply meant to keep my legs awake and muscles firing without taxing them too much.

The work is done

Remember cramming for exams in high school or college? I can. I can vividly remember trying to soak up as much information as I could before the exam started. If only it were that easy with marathon training... if only I could cram up until the last minute before the gun goes off on Sunday, January 19th. 

After last week's work load, I knew all of my training for the Houston Marathon was complete. In other words, there's nothing more I can do to improve my fitness for the race at this point (because you need recovery time to actually benefit from the workout). The only thing I can do is ensure I recover properly, and don't screw anything up by tweaking my foot, getting sick, etc. As I roll into race week, the goal will be to tune-up my mental focus and simply engage in maintenance on my legs: rest, stretching, shorter runs, etc. Because at this point, the work is done.

Back to the Houston Marathon home page.

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