I want to do a brief glance back at my last 12 weeks of training, and I want to do it before the taper madness hits and I start doubting all the hard work I put into this cycle. Right now, I’m feeling confident but I know in two weeks I’ll be rapidly vacillating between “YES I CAN!” and “No, you can’t!” So let’s look at some numbers, shall we?
In the last 12 weeks of my 14 week training plan, I have run:
56.3 miles per week on average
9 blocks of back to back doubles on Wednesdays and Thursdays
22 miles as my longest run
1:40:13 as my new fastest half-marathon time
21:55 as my new fastest 5k time
And for funsies: For 11 of those 12 weeks, I ran between 52 and 64 miles. For 9 of those, my mileage was concentrated between 58 and 62 — talk about consistency, huh? Now I’m looking at the last two weeks of my training schedule and realizing that the taper is real, and it is here, and I must do it. Oh boy. Dropping from 52 miles this week to 39 next week and just 19 in the days leading up to the marathon. Running is a big mood stabilizer for me, so who knows what kind of crazy person I’ll turn into before race day!
This is the most time and the highest mileage I have put into a training cycle ever, by far, hands down. I’ve seen huge improvements in my speed and strength in races and also my overall confidence as a runner. I could not have imagined this kind of progress when I decided 2 years ago to sign up for my first marathon. Sometimes I look at my race and training times and can’t believe that I’m the one running them. Something definitely clicked last year after I ran Minneapolis, and it’s been a really fun but surreal experience to see so much progress since last May.
And as another perk, I now weigh less than I did during my last two years of college and I am almost exactly 20 lbs lighter than I was when I graduated in 2013. I initially started marathon training as a way to get slimmer before moving to Princeton, and my body has changed a lot in the last two years. I’m definitely happier with my reflection, but also am often in awe of the things I’ve pushed this little ol’ body of mine to do.
In 2 weeks, I am going to run the New Jersey Marathon and try to qualify for Boston — and hopefully blow that BQ 3:35 out of the water by going sub-3:30. This will be only the second time I’ve gone into a marathon planning to race rather than just survive. Last fall in Philly, that didn’t work out for me due to injury, and that crash-and-burn replays in my mind whenever I think about how I want to approach race day at NJM. I have a feeling that this taper is going to be a lot of me reminding those nagging voices in my head that Philly was a BAD day, and NJM is going to be a GOOD one, because I’ve worked hard and stayed healthy and I’m even stronger now than I was six months ago.
In the meantime, I am going to continue to procrastinate on my real-life work and stalk the Boston Marathon tag on Instagram. I’m so excited for the race tomorrow and all my friends who are running! And I think I’m extra excited knowing that next year that finish line might be mine too, if all goes well in two weeks… 🙂 Happy Marathon Monday eve, Boston runners!