Taper Time

on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 10:34 PM

I originally thought I was heading into the taper in pretty good shape.  Most mileage I've ever done in a training cycle and no injuries to speak of. Alas, not quite so.  Last Friday, two days before my last scheduled 20 miler, headed out for 11 miles and my calf got really sore about half way through.  Did a short run on Saturday, took Sunday off and then tried to do the 20 miler on Thanksgiving Monday, but had to stop after 7 miles. Took the last two days off. I'm supposed to pace the 1:45 half marathon on Sunday at a local race and part of me has been thinking maybe I should bow out now.  I'd hate to drop out at the last minute and leave the organizer in a lurch. Will try a short recovery run tomorrow and then make the call.

I guess neglecting with the posting in this blog also caused me to not bother to review what I've written previously which is one of the whole reasons for starting this thing.  If I had bothered to look back (here and here), I would have read that in previous marathon training, I had a tendency to develop trigger points in my calves during the taper.  This time it happened a bit earlier, but all the warning signs were there and I just ignored them.  Tight calves at the beginning of run, plantar fasciitis pain.  All things I had dealt with and supposed learnedly from before, but I guess that feeling of invincibility I had while getting through some of the longer mileage and faster mileage weeks left me feeling a bit cocky.  Now I'm paying for it.  I've been kneeding my calves every hour for the past couple of days, even bringing my Stick into work. 

I usually pick a marathon goal about a month before the race.  As I previously posted, 3:20 was a reasonable goal with 3:15 as an outside possibility.  My recent 15k race made me a little more confident that 3:15 was doable if the stars aligned.  Also, did a 19 mile long run with 14 at MP with 7 at 3:15 pace so was feeling pretty good about that. But since I last posted about goals, the BQ times have come out for next year. Last year, when they implemented the new BQ times, everyone that ran their time got in, this year you had to beat your BQ time by 1:38 to get in.

Now it could just be that there is an intense interest in doing Boston now due to the bombings this year or it could just be that it took a year for marathoners to step up their game to adjust to the new times. 

Whatever the reason, it's looking like 3:15 may not be enough. While I thought I had an outside shot at 3:15, to run a 3:13 marathon would require a 7:22 min/mile pace which I haven't trained for and am probably ill prepared to attempt.  Though it may not seem like much of a difference, as someone that tried numerous times for 3:10 and failed, getting into that sub 3:15 range is a little dicey for me.

A 3:15 that doesn't get me into Boston might as well be a 3:20 or 3:30 for that matter.  At this point, I haven't run a marathon in 3 years so any time better than a DNF would be welcome.  I still haven't made a final decision yet, but I'm leaning towards the original goal of 3:20.  This may get slower or faster depending on the outcome of this calf issue.