The Newburyport Taper Begins

Less than two weeks to my second half marathon.

Sunday marked the two-week countdown to my second half marathon. I’ve had to change my half marathon training program, ultimately going with the one on Active.com that has three runs per week (two speedwork, one long run) and three cross-training days, so I can still do resistance training at Conca Sport & Fitness. I really believe that working out at Conca has been key to avoiding injury. And if you’re in Western Massachusetts and looking for a great workout that is supervised and carefully designed, it’s worth checking out.

Anyway. On to how I’ve been training for a half marathon.

Three days a week, I strength train. Single-leg squats, core presses, and chin-ups may not sound like a lot of fun (and the single-leg squats are brutal), but I can’t just run. Everything I’ve read says just running isn’t enough; I need to build strength in my legs and core, and throwing in some upper body work helps, too.

Last week I was at a conference for two days, so I did my usual travel preparation: map out a route, check the weather, bring my running shoes and Garmin. The weather was perfect for a half marathon training run: I was in Boston, and I swooped up Massachusetts Avenue, over the Charles River, along the Cambridge side of the river, and back across to weave through packs of Boston University students who were probably cursing at the idiot smelly runner.

Saturday is the real story, though. I woke up to a drizzle, and I laced up to do my last long run in my half marathon training program (12 miles) before the race. Yep, the taper has begun, and hopefully the crazy has not. After about a mile, the rain started getting heavier.. and heavier… by Mile 8, I was drenched, chilly (even with my long-sleeve top), and generally miserable. Yet I kept going, It was basically worse than my first half marathon, if you can believe that. But I still finished that run in 2:02-ish, which gives me hope for the actual race. I know I’ll be running on adrenaline.

The good news is, while my calves and hamstrings were sore, my IT band was fine, and so were my knees. They tend to be a bit crabby after long runs, and stairs are a little uncomfortable (which is really not fun on weekends, when I’m going upstairs to get laundry and down to the basement to actually do it). But there was no extra pain or discomfort. Again, it gives me hope that I’ll survive, especially if it doesn’t rain or drizzle. I’ve got my fingers crossed for weather in the 50s, party cloudy, light wind.

1