Bend Marathon Race Week: Tapering
Only a couple more days to go until the inaugural Bend Marathon. So far Bend has not failed and the event sold out, so I am looking forward to racing against some amazing people (hoping to use it to my advantage to pull me along).
Tapering officially started for me this week however I haven't been able to run much the last two weeks due a persnickety hip. It has been probably one of my best training sessions leading up to this marathon, minus the usual aches and pains that come from training I have felt strong and stayed un-injured until about a week ago when my hip decided to act up brutally. This has resulted in me going from 40-55 miles a week to drastically dropping down to barely 15 miles, so far this week I've put in about 8 miles.
Taper week is usually a difficult one for me because my knowledge tells me that it is important but my brain and body want to continue on. I have to constantly remind myself that I've already put the work in now its time to relax, focus, and get ready to light the fire. Due to the hip acting up this week has been even more stressful as it hasn't helped my nerves or my confidence in how ready I feel. As I said I know that the work has already been put in but in the week leading up to a race I tend to get caught up in worrying about whether I am ready or not.
Since I haven't been able to put the miles in that I would like to during this prep week it has meant a lot of stair climbing,
and focusing more on my lifting. With a the Empire Classic competition coming up next weekend this focus has not been a bad thing.
People often ask me why I continue training during taper week and not "rest" completely. For me there are a couple reasons:
1. Mostly for my own, and other people's, sanity. Training is my stress reliever, it is what I do to calm myself, relax, and to re-engage with myself. Not only that it saves others from the, well for lack of better word, bitch I could potentially become during the week leading up. Nerves have a tendency to get the better of me and the patience I normally have goes right out the window. 2. Staying loose. While my training decreases significantly during this week I do not completely stop as I like to keep blood flow to my muscles (and brain) allowing oxygen and nutrients to continue feeding them. 3. Routine. I have found over the years that my body functions best when it stays on a somewhat of a routine, especially when it comes to the foods I consume one week prior. So, yes I do decrease my intensity and length of training, but I try to maintain the same routine so as to keeps things the same.
When preparing for a race I always lay out a relative plan for the weekend. I don't always plan out my exact race, as I like to be flexible when I am out there and not worrying if I am hitting the exact splits I want; I usually preform better when it is up to my body to lead the way instead of a plan put on paper.
Mainly when prepping for a race I go over the schedule of events, ie: when to check in, what time I need to arrive at the start line, when I need to get my last meal in the night before and in the morning.
Secondly, I take a look at the course and elevation maps.
Starting in downtown Bend, the course travels through the heart of the city, including iconic Drake Park, before heading north along the Deschutes River. At mile 5, the course turns back south and passes through downtown again. Winding past the Old Mill District and through Farewell Bend Park, marathon runners will head out the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway towards the turn around near Seventh Mountain Resort. The home stretch takes you through the Tetherow neighborhood (which includes fantastic views of the Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mt. Bachelor) to the West Bend Trail and the finish. The finish pavilion will be one gigantic party at Mirror Pond Parking Lot next to iconic Drake Park. The marathon course is approximately 85% pavement and 15% gravel trail.
Lastly, I make sure to have a knowledge of what splits I need to be around in order to hit my goal time. Due to the elevation gain in this race I am not shooting for my ultimate goal of coming in right at the 3 hour marker, I am saving that for the Couer d'Alene Marathon at the end of May which hosts a very flat course. Yet I am still going to try for a PB (personal best) at close to 3 hrs 10 minutes.
What am I most looking forward to this weekend?
Heading down to Bend for the weekend and getting to spend it with my family. I grew up in Hood River, OR which is just about three hours due north of Bend and absolutely love the area. It has been a while since I have been down there, but I spent many winters ski racing at Mt. Bachelor. My family will be there this weekend, as my dad is going to be running the half marathon and coincidentally my mom had a work conference down in Bend starting tomorrow. I am also looking forward to just racing. Competition is something I have always loved as it is a time to test yourself and reap the rewards of all the time and effort you have put in.
Stay tuned next week for a race/weekend recap. Have a wonderful weekend everyone and pray that it doesn't rain in Bend. :)
What is your favorite part about racing? Do you have any pre-race rituals that you follow?