The first time that I trained for a marathon, I was bummed when the training plan told me that I had to cut back on running in the final weeks before the marathon. It just seemed counter-intuitive. I had a marathon to run. Why am I sitting here looking out the window and watching other runners go by? Each successive marathon I did, however, the importance of tapering became more and more apparent.
This will be the fourth marathon that I have trained for and, so far, it has gone amazingly well. I missed two or three workouts and had to juggle a couple more around but, for the most part, it has gone unbelievably smooth. I never experienced and injuries and never got sick the entire time. My pace gradually increased each week but I still had the discipline to pace myself on the long runs.
I have been following the Hal Higdon Intermediate II marathon plan which I purchased on Training Peaks. I highly recommend it. It isn’t just a set of workouts. Coach Higdon also includes detailed explanations about each workout and additional inspirational stories, information about nutrition and advice about running. What is cool is that these comments really do sound like they are coming from a coach. They have a “if I tell you to do this, you do it” kind of attitude which I thought was great. Whenever I told anyone how far my run was, I started saying things like “Coach Higdon says the I need to run 12 miles slow today.” It provides you with confidence that he knows what he is doing and you need to follow the plan.
This is the hardest that I have ever trained for a marathon and, for the first time, I feel like I ‘earned’ this three week long taper. I have no doubt that I’ll be ready when I toe the line on race day.