As you all know, because I won't shut up about it, I'm on taper at the moment. Tapering for a marathon I'll be running this weekend, in fact. Taper has made me nervous, though, because I haven't done a long run the past 2 weekends. Partly that's cause I've been out of town, but mostly because, well, I'm tapering. But how do I know that I can do this marathon in a good time if it's been so long since I ran a 20 miler at a good pace??? It's the kind of insanity that bothers me. I also did relatively few runs over the past week (non-long ones, that is) and at a slow pace, partly in the spirit of tapering. Again, worrisome - I've had some good runs this training season, but what have they done for me lately? How do I know I'm ready??
So today I went out for my last 7 miler before the marathon and I decided to just run it and see what kind of time I could get. I didn't really go out deliberately to push the speed, but I also didn't deliberately run slowly, which I've been doing. I thought I was lagging badly, and was worried, until I looked at my watch after the 1st mile and saw 7:18. For the whole 7 miles I did just under 56 minutes, or a 7:56 pace. That is damn fast for a slow guy like me and I was really happy. I've had this happen on tapers in the past as well. When you're well rested, you can run faster without spending as much effort, so you feel slower than you really are. Which is the whole point of the taper. You rest so you've got the energy and strength to run the race well. So now I feel a bit relieved - still have some speed left in me, and obviously I'm better rested than I was a few weeks back. One more 5 miler in a few days, at a SLOW pace, and then the big one. Send me imaginary good running vibes on Sunday!