Training and tapering- Hampton Beach Half Marathon

Tomorrow is “the day”!    Of course, there are lots of “big days” in a year of competition, but tomorrow’s half marathon has been our focus for winter training.  Back in October, Ken and I entered a half marathon in Newport, RI on a whim.  One of my former athletes, Liz, was running the first marathon in her quest for an Olympic Trials qualifier…. she finished 6th overall and 1st woman!  I wanted to be there, and decided if I was there, I might as well run.  October 18th happened to also be a weird fall “Nor-east’r” which brought downpours and winds up to 40mph!  What a day!

Our run went well though, and Ken and I were both pleased with our 1:45 finishes (his was a few seconds faster than mine, but we were both close to 8 min pace)  We then ran pretty good times at our annual “Manchester Road Race” on Thanksgiving Day… this time, my run was a few seconds (19 to be exact) faster than Ken’s.  Make no doubt, Ken is a faster runner, so on the rare occassion that I have a quicker time, I ENJOY it.  🙂

A week or two after Manchester, on our drive to Vermont for some early season XC skiing, Ken was very quiet.  He finally came out with it, “I’ve been thinking about this and hope I don’t regret it, but do you think I could lose 10 lbs and run a faster half marathon in a couple months?”

“YES” was my emphatic answer, I had been waiting for this as I KNEW he could run much faster with some proper training and nutrition.  Now, I had my chance!  When we got home, I searched out a race that would fit into my track coaching schedule, and Ken’s work travel schedule.  We had hoped for something in early March as that is a break between indoor and outdoor track and field, but we eventually settled on a course in southern New Hampshire on February 21st.

The date wasn’t perfect as I would be coming off a tough weekend at the Indoor Track and Field conference championships in Boston, but it sounded like a good course, was a driveable distance, and gave us two solid months to prepare.  We added longer runs, speed workouts which included mile and half mile repeats, tempo runs, cross training, stretching, and strength training.  We ate a nearly vegan diet which turned out to be delicious and alot of fun as we tried new “healthy” recipes.  I have been gluten and dairy free for a couple of years, and we’ve both been “almost vegetarian” so it wasn’t as hard as we thought it might be.  As of a week ago, Ken had lost 7 lbs and I hadn’t gained my usual winter 10, so we are happy with that result.  Of course, we’d still like to drop a couple more lbs, but that will come when we can add long bike rides and warmer days.

This week has been “taper week”.  I’ve been nursing a sore left knee, and am being very cautious.  Tapering is the hardest part of any training plan for me.  I feel best when I am moving and relax best when I’m tired.  We ran a 5 mile race last Saturday, which combined with a warmup and a cooldown,  gave us a 10 mile day.  From there we have only run a couple of 4-5 miler, gone to the pool, rode the spin bikes, and stretched.  We had planned one short speed day, but with my knee pain, decided to err on the side of caution, and skip it.  I’m hoping for the best tomorrow!

Yesterday was Day 1 of the track meet, I took an ENTIRE DAY OFF from exercise, and amazingly enough, I SLEPT last night.  This morning I am going out for 4 miles of easy running, and tomorrow is “the day”.   I will report our results tomorrow night!


1 Comment »

  1. Nice blog. A friend of mine has used a knee brace in the past and helped him greatly while continuing to train for a marathon.

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