As I talked about in week 6, I decided to give my legs a rest in week 7, and as a post about me generally doing nothing might be a bit boring, I’ve combined updates for week 7 and 8 into this single post.
Not quite as tapering should be
I touched on the idea of tapering last week, but taking a full week off with no running at all isn’t really tapering. The idea is to gradually reduce training to allow your body time to recover so that you race from a point where you are 100% fit. It also allows your body to store the additional fuel that you’re no longer using so that your glycogen levels are fully topped up come race day. The general advice I’ve seen for a half marathon is to halve the distance of the long run two weeks out from race day, and then half it again with one week left. Combine this with a reduction in intensity of any other training sessions and you should be raring to go.
Returning to training
Although it wasn’t easy to resist the urge of pulling on the trainers, I managed to take a full eight days rest. It might sound easy, but since I’ve got into the habit of running it really has become part of my routine, and if I can’t run, I start feeling a bit fidgety and also a little bit guilty. Strange I know, but that’s what happens!
It was now less than a week until race day, and after the break I didn’t want to over do things so decided to limit myself to three 5k runs, each with a single day of rest in between.
My first run back felt really hard. For a mile or so I struggled to get into much of a rhythm, and although after this it picked up and I felt OK, when I subsequently reviewed my tracking data it showed that my pace was significantly down on previous similar runs. This had me worrying about how my fitness level may have dropped from the inactivity, but a quick tweet to the running community soon had me reassured that such a short break shouldn’t result in any noticeable fitness drop.
Took 8 days rest for recovery & first run after was hard and slow. Just an off day or drop in fitness in such a short time? #ukrunchat
— Paul (@thisgeekruns) August 26, 2015
The second run felt a little better, and then by the third at my local parkrun I felt back on track and my pace was up around my normal ‘easy-run’ parkrun pace. Panic over!
One thing I’ve learnt from this is that if I take any future breaks, I’ll be supplementing with alternative exercises to keep both my fitness, and my spirits up.
Did it work?
The main reason for the running break was to try and resolve the knee pain which keeps kicking in at around seven miles. As I’ve only run 5k distances since, I’ve absolutely no idea if this has actually helped – we’ll just have to wait and see on the day but it’ll definitely be playing on my mind!
0 Weeks to go – It’s almost race day – check back soon to see how I get on!