Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Taper Madness is here

Saturday I will be running the Nashville Country Music Marathon. This week I am pretty much worthless. With the running of Boston yesterday, I could barely work. We watched the live video on the computer and our good friend Rock finished in just over 4 hours. It must have been an awesome feeling crossing the same finish line where all the great running legends have crossed.

So taper madness is here. All the questions start popping up in your head. Did I train hard enough? Did I run enough long runs? Did I get enough mileage in each week? At least one thing I do know for sure, I can finish. And I have done the distance before, not fast but I have been there and know what lays ahead of me.

So whats my goal? Whats my pacing plan? I'm still bouncing this one around and will be probably until the start. I would love to break 4:45. Which means I need an average pace right at 10:50 per mile. Sounds pretty slow at first, but by mile 15 on things start hurting and the head starts playing games with you.

Then there is the pacing plan. There seem to be two coaching theories on this. One is to just run a steady pace from start to finish. A lot of coaches say this has the best results. The other way of thinking is to run negative splits. Start out slow, then pick it up, then really pick up the pace the last 6 miles. The problem I have with this plan is starting out slow. They want me to run an 11:19 pace for the first two miles and that seems to be impossible for me right now. Only way I could do that is to take at least two walk breaks in each of the first two miles. Maybe I should try it.

What to do, what to do. Then there is what to carry. Water pack or none. I am leaning towards nothing this time, but I have to be able to carry my gels, phone, endurolytes, etc. Shoes I am set. Socks I am set. I will run in the same brand that I did my last 20 in when it rained for 4 hours solid. If I didn't get a blister then those are the socks to wear. Running shorts I am pretty much set. Shirts, could depend on the weather but it will probably just be my Cruiser singlet.

So the other big question that looms is if 4:45 is an achievable goal? Coach Dennis told me that based on my training I should be able to run a 10:45 pace which would put me under 4:45. But, two factors that can affect that will be race course and weather. We know Nashville has some hills, how big and how many I really don't know. I feel like I am ready for them hopefully. Weather, well we have no control over that one. I just hope its not sizzling hot. If so it will be a long slow race. I did run almost 8 miles Saturday afternoon in 80 degree sunny heat. It was tough but good for training.

It would be much easier to not have a goal, just to run. But the competitive side of me kicks in so I'll have several goals. All of which are subject to change as the race unfolds. On to more taper madness!


Susan said...

I'm very excited for you, Arland! I don't think a marathon is in my future for the next year -- but a half later on in the year. For now, biking and soon swimming.

Taper! Yay!

Cheryl said...

What will get you through 26.2 miles? Going slower in the beginning? or doing a steady pace? You CAN do either, going slower is an option, you just start with a pace group, not with a pack of runners running at 9:00 miles. I think I've mentioned this before, but I know for certain that going slower for me in the LR Marathon made a HUGE difference, but everyone is different. Regardless of what you decide is best for you, just keep positive thoughts, don't let those negative thoughts in at all. I wish I was going to be there to watch you and everyone come in!