Another round of training DONE!! No injuries, no hiccups, dare I say....we are coming out of this round of training feeling the best we ever have??!! If only that meant we are running the fastest ever....well, I will take healthy and feeling great over speed at this point!
Every run counted over the past 16 weeks. We ran our short runs fast, and made ourselves kick hard at the end of every one. We did not skip any long runs, even when we really really really wanted to....it is time I admit we are human and sometimes really just want to stay in bed and hit snooze...gasp....but we didn't. We did not train back to back weekends w/long runs, meaning we did a long run, then the next weekend dropped back to a 13 miler, then following weekend back up to a long run. I have to say, I really think this is where we have overdone it in the past and picked up our aches and pains. Previously, once our long runs were at 15, this is what the schedule would look like -15, 16, 18, 18, 20, 22, 24- followed by a two week taper. This go round was like this - 15, 13, 16, 13, 18, 13, 20 - and now we head into a two week taper that will most likely have a 10-13 miler next weekend (unless we can find a tough 5k instead). I feel sooo much better coming out the other end of this training period!!! Usually, I am posting after long runs about how hard it was, how much pain we were in, how awful it was....but this time, they didn't feel that bad. We had a new route we were using and to add miles to it we added a half mile to the end of 2 out and back sections, so it added 1 mile to each section, 2 miles total. Mentally, it didn't seem that much longer each time, and the route was made up of two out and backs and a loop, so it was easy to break it up into sections in my head. Today's 20 was by far the hardest, but nothing like the 20's in the past. We ran a fast and hard 8 miler last night, are way, way behind on our sleep, walked all morning in service, then ran 20 in the hottest part of the day....and it wasn't miserable.
Even the ice bath I had when we got home was not miserable.....but maybe that was because I was eating a bowl of hot and sour soup while soaking : )
I've learned a lot this go round, mainly that sometimes less is more. Previously I took comfort in the number of miles we put into each training period...sacrificing myself to the miles, ignoring pains (that would inevitably get worse as the weeks went by). I had it in my head that the more miles we logged, the more prepared we would be. I thought if nothing else, knowing I put in 400+ miles in training would give me a mental edge. Say it with me.....OCD???
I have learned over the past 16 weeks that an even better mental edge comes from knowing I made the most of every mile I ran and that I feel really, really good, steady, and focused. I learned more than just that, but man...this post is getting too long!!
So..... lets bring on some taper madness!!!