Taper = Training

Taper is hard work.

It’s HARD to relax, sleep in on a Saturday and only run for 90 minutes.  Seriously.  I feel more at ease when I’m going, going, going.  When I’m sitting around – relaxing – I feel guilty and lazy.  Call me Type A.

So this past week – when my total mileage has only been 33 miles – I’ve been trying to look at taper – at relaxing – differently.  And my new and improved taper-mindset is working.  I’m trying to look at taper as training.  Instead of looking at is as cutting back and a license to eat and drink like a pig and be lazy, I’m looking at it as a time to repair my muscles from the beating they’ve taken the last 14 weeks.  I’m making a conscious effort to NOT go crazy with projects and house cleaning and things that are on my to-do list, which I now have extra time for.  Instead, I’m making an effort to take more epsom baths, do foam rolling, sleep more and – gasp – just kick my feet up and read a book.  All with the mindset that it’s not laziness – it’s training.  I’m trying to rest the legs, body and mind so that I get spring in my step and focus my mind.

6 more days of training.

Phoenix Marathon Week 15 recap

Miles run: 33.6

Pilates: 3 times


  • M: 50 minutes running (about 5.25 miles); pilates
  • T: pilates
  • W: 6 miles (9:00)
  • Th: 7.8 miles (8:12) w/ 2 miles (7:40), 2 x 1 mile (7:28; 7:23); 4 x 200 (6:00 pace)
  • F: 5 miles (9:49)
  • Sa: 90 minutes (9.55 miles at 9:26)
  • Su: REST

6 days til Race Day!


Phoenix Marathon Training, Week #14

This was a fabulous week of training.  3 weeks out from the marathon is usually taper.  And, in a sense, this was a cut back in that the workouts themselves didn’t have the volume that I’ve been doing.  But overall mileage was still about 90% of max.  And it was actually MORE miles than I ran last week because last week I took two rest days because sleeping late in Florida one morning sounded more enticing than running 8 miles. 🙂

I have to say that I loved this week of workouts though.  I nailed the paces and mileage on everything and – most importantly – it felt freaking fantastic.

The workout of the week was today’s 12 miler.  It doesn’t look that challenging on paper.  But I did a 6 mile out and back and the back was in to 18 mph headwind and then the last 2 miles, where I was supposed to go 7:35 pace, was a combo of 18 mph headwind/cross wind along with a 1/2 mile  gradual uphill at a decent incline.  So even though my pace was 7:38 in the last mile, Strava’s grade adjusted pace said 7:18.  So basically, I kicked ass! 🙂

So I’d say that taper really starts NOW.  13 days to get the legs rested and springy feeling.

Phoenix Marathon Training, Week #14 Recap:

  • Miles Run: 52.5
  • Pilates: FIVE times!  Yes, you read that right. I am ultra flexible with abs of steel.  Sort of.


  • M: 6 miles (9:30); pilates
  • T: 7 miles (9:30)
  • W: 7.6 miles (8:27) w/ 3 x 1 mile (6:55; 6:50; 6:45); pilates
  • Th: pilates
  • F:  6 miles (8:29) w/ Deek 200s; pilates
  • Sa: 14 miles (8:22) w/ middle 10 at 8:10 – 8:20
  • Su: 12 miles (8:34) with last 2 at 7:40ish; pilates

13 days til race day!  Yipee!


Side note:  I have to say that I think shaking hands to greet one another in church should be BANNED.  Really.  It’s such a germ-spreader.  Our church never does it.  Except today. 2 weeks out from my marathon, when I’m trying to avoid germs and the pastor announces that we will all turn to one another and greet eachother.  UGGGGG.  I’m sure I didn’t make any friends when I shook hands with 4 people with a big sneer and look of disgust and fear on my face.  Lesson learned:  I’m not going to church anymore during taper. 😉

Back from R&R (and phoenix week #13 recap)


I’m usually one of those “scheduled” vacationers who can’t totally relax and has activities planned, dinner reservations, tours scheduled, etc.

Not this time.  This time I was a relaxed vacationer.  And it was seriously THE BEST vacation I’ve ever had.  Recap of my last 4 days:  Arrive in warm sunny Florida. Eat. Drink. Run. Pool. Nap. Eat. Drink. Run. Beach. Nap. Eat. Drink. Run. Pool. Nap. Fly back to cold, snowy Minnesota.

florida 2


Phoenix Marathon Week #13 Training Recap:

Miles Run:  46.5

Pilates: Twice


  • M: 6.6 miles (9:34); pilates
  • T: pilates
  • W: 9.1 miles (8:57) w/ 10 x 200m
  • Th: 7.1 miles (9:24)
  • F: 14.2 miles (8:13) w/ 2 x 5.5 miles at 7:50ish
  • Sa: 10 miles (9:05)
  • Su: rest again! 🙂

19 days til Race Day!

Phoenix Marathon Training, Week #12 Recap

This week started out great and ended great and sucked in the middle.  I’m starting to get worn down from the grind of training.  Not so much from the miles themselves – they seem very manageable – but from doing the miles in the cold.  Florida could not come at a much more needed time!  About 30 of my miles this week will be in the sun, without double layers of clothing. Yipee!

Phoenix Marathon Training, Week #12 recap

Miles Run: 64.4

Pilates: 4 times!  Yipee!


  • M: 10.4 miles (9:07) (w/ 3 strides); pilates
  • T: 10 miles (8:51) (awesome feeling run!); pilates
  • W: 8 miles (8:51) (on TM, with hills); pilates
  • Th: rest
  • F: 6 miles (8:58) (on TM – so fricking boring)
  • Sa: 20 miles (9:35)
  • Su: 10 miles (9:10); pilates

27 days til race day!


Today’s long run was UGLY.  No two ways about it.  It reminded me of about 7 of the 10 marathons I’ve run, where I hit a wall and the splits turn really really bad.  Because I think we can learn something from ugly runs like this, I’m trying to analyze it and figure out what went wrong, so that I don’t repeat this run ONE MONTH FROM TODAY at the Phoenix Marathon!  Feel free to move on to a more exciting blog.  I won’t be offended.

So why did it suck?

  • It was 2 degrees, with a windchill of -7.  I was dressed ok but for some reason my face got really cold this time.  Even now, 12 hours later, it feels like I have a wind burned face.  Very weird.   (Pretty sure this won’t be happening in Phoenix).
  • The footing was horrible.  I went out about 7:30 this morning.  1/2 the roads were plowed, which actually made the footing worse than if they weren’t plowed, in my opinion because there was loose slop/chunks of snow ice from the plow all over.  And it was too cold/too early for it to melt.  So it was sloppy and icy.  Footing really really sucked.  (Pretty sure THIS won’t be happening in Phoenix either).
  • The route was hilly.  It’s hard to avoid hills where I live, which I don’t think is a bad thing because training on hills makes you stronger and faster.  But when the roads are sloppy/icy, getting up the hills is HARD work. (Phoenix is downhill, so this shouldn’t be an issue)
  • I didn’t hydrate properly.  Just like last week’s long run.  I brought a handheld (20 ounces) with Nuun water.  But within 2 miles the spout was frozen and within 4 miles the whole top was frozen.  So other than my gu, I didn’t have fuel.  I use a handheld because I have learned that I need more water/Nuun/gatorade than “normal” runners – the amount I get at water stops just isn’t enough.  So I’m sure this played a huge role in why I hit the wall (I can avoid this and hydrate properly in Phoenix)
  • I was bored.  It’s getting really fricking old to run for 3 hours by myself freezing my ass off.  When it’s decent weather (i.e. at least double digits ABOVE zero) I actually love running by myself because it’s my time to sort through my life.  But virtually all I thought about for 3+ hours today was how bad this run sucked, how bad I wanted to be done, and WTF am I thinking signing up for marathon after marathon!  (This shouldn’t happen in Phoenix, since it will be new scenery to run in and it’ll be at least double digits above zero!)
  • Another big reason it sucked is my legs are tired.  This training plan is higher mileage than I’ve done for marathon training.  I’m in week 12 of the 16 week plan.  All but 3 of the weeks have been 50 – 65 miles.  The past 4 weeks (including this are 60 – 65 mile weeks).  So put tired legs on crappy footing, and it’s bound to be ugly, right?  (Phoenix won’t have this issue because my legs are going to be fresh and tapered!)

What got me through the ugly run?

  • It’s my last 20 miler before Phoenix.  So even though it sucked, I wanted to finish the entire 20 miles.
  • Thinking about sitting under a warm blanket and reading my book.  (I’m reading Gone Girl.  Anyone read it?  It’s messed up. In a good way.)
  • The groundhog not seeing his shadow.  Seriously.  I know it’s all just a big fictional thing but I am so ready to be DONE with winter that if that little guy had seen his shadow I think I would have had a breakdown.

So there you have it.  I’ve analyzed the shitty run.  And I’m not going to dwell on it – especially because virtually all of the reasons I think it was crappy will NOT be there in Phoenix.

Moving on.

Phoenix Marathon Training Week #11 Recap

Remember last week when I blogged about how great my week was and how fabulous I was feeling about everything?  Well this week was the exact opposite.  I felt off and slow and fat.  Blah.

But in the words of someone much wiser than myself:  Fuck it.  Focus on the week ahead.  It’ll be fine.

So that’s my plan.  Moving on.

Phoenix Training Week #11 Recap:


  • Miles run: 60.6
  • Pilates: twice


  • M: 5.2 miles (9:33); pilates
  • T: 10 miles (8:52) (downhill on TM)
  • W: 9.4 (9:15) (w/ 4x1k and 5x300m)
  • Th: rest
  • F: 10 miles (9:18)
  • Sa: 18 miles (8:28)
  • Su: 8 miles (9:46); pilates

The best thing about this week was pilates today.  My body needed it!

34 days til race day!  Yikes!

Phoenix Marathon Training Week #10 recap

Phoenix Marathon Week #10 Recap

Wow.  Something different happened with my running this week.  A break through week, I think.  I felt stronger.  My heart rate was considerably lower.  Running felt easier.  Workouts that looked F-bomb worthy on paper, weren’t actually too bad.  As I was doing some of my runs, I actually truly believed that my race goal is achievable.  My workouts this week were just right.


  • Miles Run: 63.8
  • Pilates: twice (yipee!)

The details:

  • M:8.4 miles (9:07) w/ 3 strides; pilates
  • T: 16 miles (8:33) (w/ 35 minutes of MP bursts mixed in)
  • W: 5 miles (9:38) (on treadmill, downhill for 4.25)
  • Th: 8.4 miles (9:18) w/ 3 strides
  • F: 16 miles (7:58) (w/ 5 x 2.5 miles at 7:50, 7:50, 7:50, 7:40, 7:30)
  • Sa: 10 miles (9:37)
  • Su: pilates

A few more hard weeks until taper time!

41 days til race day!

Phoenix Marathon Week #9 recap

Phoenix Marathon Week #9 Recap

I’m feeling good about where my running is at.  Need to spend the next few weeks getting back into pilates and core stuff though.  I’ve been slacking in that department.  Could blame it on the fact that my DVD player isn’t hooked up from the move.  But then my daughter reminded me I could just play it on my laptop.  So no more excuses this week.

Miles Run: 59.1  (I was tempted to go .9 more, just to get to 60, but it would just be to SOUND cooler and the schedule today only said 10)


  • M: 6 miles (9:04)
  • T: 10.5 miles (9:02) w/ strides
  • W: 13.5 miles (8:20) w/ 10 miles of 8:20/7:50 alternating
  • Th: 8 miles (9:24)
  • F: 11.1 miles (8:54) w/ 10x200m (6:02 – 6:26)
  • Sa: rest
  • Su: 10 miles (8:55)

Focus this week will be on pilates and nutrition (promise!).

48 days til race day!

Phoenix Marathon Training Week #8 Recap

I’m in the new home.  And LOVING it.  Life seems so much brighter now that I am finally in new surroundings.   Pictures coming soon – after I get more boxes unpacked!

So in between moving and unpacking and organizing, I squeezed in the first 20 mile run of the training cycle.  Hit the paces I was trying for and it felt GOOD!

Phoenix Marathon Training week #8 recap:

Miles run: 51.9

Pilates:  zero,  but I think all the moving must count as ab work/strength/flexibility


  • M: rest/cross country ski
  • T: rest
  • W: 8.5 miles w/ bunch of 1600 & 800 intervals
  • Th: 10.3 hilly miles (9:00)
  • F: 6 miles (9:44)
  • Sa: 20 miles (8:50)
  • Su: 8 miles (9:40)

55 days until race day!


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