The countdown to the Toronto Women’s Half is on – only 11 days left and according to the training plan I’ve been following, that means that taper has begun.
Taper is essentially a time that is the final stage of preparation for a specific race – this is when mileage begins to come down, the last speed work gets accomplished and the details get polished with a little finesse. All of the toughest work is behind you – all those crazy long runs, all those hill workouts, and all those high weeks of mileage have built up to now, and now the race is coming near.
Taper is a fickle beast. You run less, which can make runner fanatic both thrilled and crazy all at the same time. What do you mean I don’t have a Monday run this week? WHERE IS MY MONDAY RUN? We find ourselves with a little more time on our hands and a little more energy to burn that had previously been going elsewhere. It can be difficult to balance; lowering the mileage, but not losing any fitness.
Not everyone can taper the same as everyone is different. Some people sleep a lot during a taper time, some find themselves with all this pent up energy and without a proper release get a case of the taper grouchies. As a competitive swimmer, I was always really annoyed at my coach who didn’t back my meters off as much as everyone else’s, but it was because through trial and error we had learned that me lowering my mileage too much too soon resulted in worse results in the end. My results appreciated it in the long run, but as a teenager I was irritated that I had to do more than others in my group. Personally, I generally have to wait to lower my distance longer than a training plan suggests in order to get the right results, sleep an extra hour a night, and make sure that I eat properly (which is always the hardest part).
Last night was one of my last speed sessions before the race on the 26th – 6×400 at 5:00 pace, and I surprised myself by holding 4:45 pace without difficulty (except on number 5 when I had to stop because my training partner jumped a fence and got momentarily stuck in a swamp).
I’m looking forward to this race and this taper time leaves me just itching to race.
– Sub 2:10 (which would be 6:11/km)
– Sub 6:00/km average pace, which would be 2:06
– Finish with a smile on my face!