I'm becoming a victim of it. While it hasn't struck in full force, I'm afraid that's coming.
For those of you who don't know what taper is, let me summarize. The point of marathon training is to stress the body--the legs and the cardiovascular system. In between runs, your body recovers and improves. You get faster, stronger, etc. Before race day, you need to maximize the recovery from all the beating up of your body that you've done. So, typically two to three weeks prior to marathon day, you enter taper. Taper=fewer miles..and the point is to leave you feeling fresh on race day.
I have completed one week of taper. My peak mileage was 75, and so my first taper week was around 75% of that mileage (53 miles). You'd think I'd be feeling pretty good after such a drastic reduction in mileage, right? Nope. My legs feel like absolute garbage. Not anything injury-related (though the sciatica is still there a bit)...just completely trashed. Tired. Sore. As in...not fresh.
I've only tapered once before, and I remember my legs feeling unexpectedly tired during the taper. But this time it's a lot worse...my quads are just completely gone. They felt better during my peak week than they do now. So, of course, one starts to wonder "Will this go away by race day? Am I doomed?" I have asked these questions to Tim, Bill, and my dad. All of them tell me it's a normal part of taper. That, come race day, my legs will feel fresh and strong.
And I do believe them. And I know that my legs felt unbelievably good on race day for Eugene. But I can't help but worry (kind of my nature, if you follow this blog) that my quads are going to feel shredded on the start line. This coming week is another drop in mileage--only 37 miles TOTAL. After that, it just gets worse--the week of the race I'm only running like 11 miles the entire week before Chicago. Here's to hoping the taper works (and it does...that's why they call it the magic taper), but it certainly can mess with your mind.
So..I ran 16 miles today with dad and Bill. We took off at 7:00...which is way better than the 5:30 runs I've been doing lately. It was cool and rainy, which is perfect. From the get go, I knew my legs were going to feel tired the whole time. And they did. And by 10 miles, my quads felt like they had no shock absorption--very similar to what you feel at the end of a marathon. Again, nothing injury-like...just extremely tired and sore. We ran a very easy pace, but it didn't matter. The legs just weren't there. Other than that, it was a good run with great company. One thing I really hate about taper and then time off after a race is that I miss running with my friends and family. But that will come again soon.
Up to Indy tomorrow to deliver the dissertations. Then a huge to-do list to tackle.