May 6, 2013

Running on An Empty Head

Some people don't like the word "tapering", thinking it suggests a slothful week leading up to your target race. These people tend to prefer "peaking", and the connotation that goes along with it.

This is a debate I have no stake in. Nor do I really bother with the act itself, whatever it's called.

I'm running a half marathon this weekend - yes, another. I seem to keep getting second, which is perhaps the most motivating of all places. You were this close to winning. Or, in the most recent case, I was this close to being this close to not getting totally destroyed. But whatever. Semantics.

So it goes without saying that I'd like to win this one. Because of course I would. And so, probably, would several other relatively fast people I'll run against. It's called a race for a reason.

And yet, one week out, I'm not doing the sorts of things I probably should, in order to prepare. Or rather, I am doing things I probably shouldn't be. The program I'm following - although "following" tends to suggest a stronger adherence than I've had - had me listed for a - ahem - "long run" of 10 miles this weekend; but, you know, I did 12 instead. And then 12 the next day. Also, I did 12 the Wednesday before.

Today's sky and air conditions were just too too inviting though, too well suited for ambulatory bipedal pursuits. So I did 14 today.

Tomorrow, there are hill repeats to hammer out, which I'm really supposed to skip, but won't. Hills are my favorite thing; I'd never run another level step in my life if I weren't racing in Kansas. In other words, I'd sooner skip dinner than Tuesday, AKA Hill Day.

Thursday is tempo day - look it up, it's pretty much a rule - which, this week, will be used to knock out a couple more miles at race effort, just to habituate my legs to that rhythm.

Friday, I'll do some random crap, lift a stupid amount of weights, and drink a ton of veggie juice before bed. Because, science. Then I'll wake up, guzzle more veggie juice - this time beet juice, specifically - something like 4 shots of espresso, then go self immolate on the trails.

That's the, uh, plan?


  1. FWIW, I'm always amazed what my body pulls off when I go "off program" and do everything "wrong". I don't know why it happens that way, maybe through the shedding of expectations or normalcy, the pressure is lifted and I ultimately just run like mad. Maybe it's the fear of having done all the wrong things leading up to the race pressuring me more during the actual race. Whatever, just get out there and crush it as best you'll all come together somehow.

    1. Thanks, and I think so. I tend to get a little minutia obsessed, however, and miss the forest for the trees. I worry over weekly mileage, workout paces, and interval counts, rather than just getting the shit it. Which isn't to say that I don't do the work, just that I'm not always confident in it. All plans eventually boil down to the same things anyway: 80ish% easy aerobic work, with two days of hard running, and one day of long running. But I have a certain neurosis that demands to know I'm doing things RIGHT, as in, RIGHTER than everyone else. Of course, this is both silly and impossible. But I'm just wired that way. If I didn't stress about something, I'd stress about not stressing.