Tuesday, December 4

Streak vs. Taper

Alt. Title: Race vs. Run

This weekend I plan to run half marathon #4 of 2012.

After injury setbacks this summer, it feels good to be comfortable again at longer distances. I'm not where I'd like to be speed-wise, but at least I'm not broken.

This weekend I also plan to break my 2011 run streak record (42 days).

I wrapped up streak day #39 this morning, and see no reason to quit now. Except... these are highly incompatible goals. This week I should be engaging in that little pre-race ritual we love/loathe: The Taper.

Normally I'd spend the week before a distance race nixing all strength training, cutting back on my mileage, and enjoying a couple of good, long, no-running-allowed rest days. Maybe I'd add a massage for good measure.

I know that I race best when my legs are rested. I know that rest is an important part of a running routine. But how do I rest while run-streaking?!

So, do I quit the streak? Do I streak and let my race suffer? Decisions. Decisions...

When I look at my goals for the year, I see:

  • 5 half marathons
  • 24-minute 5k
  • run-streak

Did you notice that those half marathons have no time goal? Good!
I can run, skip, hop, walk, waddle, or cartwheel my way through 13.1 miles and it still counts toward my goal. Whether I race this race (which was unlikely anyway -- see injury statement above) or I Galloway this race is irrelevant. I don't need to compete in order to complete the distance.

Waddling inspiration!
Now we've got the ingredients to formulate a pre-race taper plan! I'm going to reduce my streak-day mileage to 2 miles or less each day, and I'll waddle* my way through 13.1. Conflict resolved!

*I realize that race purists are turning up their noses right now. "Why run if you're not going to be in peak form?" they'll ask. (Ok. Let's be honest. Those people probably don't read this blog.) Whether they read or not, I counter with two points: (1) I am going to try my hardest... my hardest while streaking and after taking two months off. Call it a training run. (2) Without this half marathon goal, I might not have been motivated to rebuild my distance after taking most of the summer off. Call it a motivating force.

Normally I race. This weekend I'm going to run.
And that's ok.
(I might still get that massage anyway...)

What's your normal taper routine?

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