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You call this a taper?

My 6th marathon is coming up and all of the training plans I've followed previously have included a pretty drastic decline in mileage the last two weeks. For this marathon, I decided to follow the Hanson's Marathon Method after reading their book.

The plan includes 6 runs per week, whereas I was running 4 days per week previously. For some context, the highest mileage week on Hanson's is 57.5 miles and my first "taper" week was still at 49.5 miles. I've been feeling great following their plan so I'll trust they know what they're doing.

Monday - 7mi easy

I've been loving the easy runs. I actually get to enjoy running rather than slogging through every workout being tough. I love running through Hyde Park, so my route went from Hammersmith Station through Hyde Park then to work. I wrote a more extensive post about this particular run here.

Tuesday - 6x1mi @ marathon pace - 10 sec + 1.5mi warm up/cool down

I tested out some super light race shoes Tuesday (Nike Streak 6). My intervals were supposed to be at 7:15/mi. As I'm trying to learn pacing by "feel", I didn't check pacing on my watch and focused on my breathing and perceived effort instead. I ended up running 7:00 miles, but my heart rate was consistent between 145-150bpm...a good sign!

I mimicked Monday's route, adding an extra lap around Hyde Park.

Trafalgar Square

Thursday - 10mi tempo run + 1mi warm up/cool down

The shoes didn't quite feel right on Tuesday. The soles are quite different to Pegasus and I could feel it in my calves and shins, but I tried them again on Thursday. Since it was a nice morning, I decided to follow the Thames from Richmond to work. I love this path because there are really no cars to deal with, so the air is a bit better and it's more peaceful.

My splits were again about 10 seconds too fast and my heart rate was only at 140bpm. Good sign! The breathing never felt heavy and my legs felt light. This would be the last day with the new shoes though. I didn't want to risk injury before the race.

Quick water stop at Putney Bridge

Friday - 6mi easy

This is the real start of the taper. Every run from here until race day would be an easy run...yes!!! After two SOS sessions, I really look forward to the Friday easy runs. I love the recovery and how it loosens my legs back up. The whole idea is to go really slow (compared to marathon pace) and keep the heart rate really low so that your body learns to burn fat.

Mission accomplished! Heart rate of 118bpm and stayed in the fat burn zone for 90% of the run.

Hyde Park Rose Garden

Saturday - 6mi easy

Some easy miles with some hill work as I headed into Richmond Park via Richmond Hill. Richmond Park is my absolute favorite place to run. It's gorgeous! Over the weekend I wanted to pick a pair of race shoes. I was thinking of wearing my Nike Vomero, but after some research, I saw that they were quite a bit heavier than my Zoom Winflo and Pegasus. Saturday I wore the Winflo and was convinced these would be my race shoes.

For those not familiar with marathons, have good, comfortable shoes is absolutely essential. Your feet take a pounding; the last thing you want is sore feet or blisters.

Eel Pie island behind me along the Thames in Twickenham

Sunday - 8mi easy

Wrapping up the week, I headed back into Richmond Park for an easy 8 miles. A cool, grey morning made for perfect running conditions. I ran in my Pegasus, which had felt a bit narrow, so before I left, I loosened up the laces at the toe box. What a difference! These will be my race shoes.

Richmond Park is very quiet early in the day

Another 49.5 miles in the bank and race week is upon me. I'm really looking forward to seeing how I do. To qualify for the Boston Marathon, I need to run 3:20, but really I probably need to run 3:15 to actually get in. That's 26.2 miles at 7:26/mi. I'm feeling confident!


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