Week 16: “Everything Hurts!”

DAY | PLAN | ACTUAL
MON | REST | REST
TUE | 5M/STRENGTH | REST!!!
WED | 8M | 8.10M (10:38/MI)
THU | 4M/STRENGTH | 4.2M INT (9:24/MI)/STRENGTH
FRI | REST | REST
SAT |YOGA  | BIKRAM90
SUN | 12M | 12M (10:18/MI)
TOTAL |29 MILES | 24.3 MILES

My three week taper before the NYC marathon officially began last week and it started with a BANG: For the first time in four months of training, I missed a workout!! Although my twenty miler last Sunday went really well, my body was very much feeling the forty miles I put on it that week. I was sore and even felt a bit feverish at work all day on Monday; I felt in my gut that one day of recovery was just not going to cut it. So that night I made the call and in doing so garnered a big high-five from my husband. He knew from experience what my body and mind were going through and he really wasn’t into my “don’t miss one workout” plan. He just felt like I was putting pressure on myself that wasn’t necessarily serving me, and was glad to see me listening to my body and taking care.

I will say last week was the most uncomfortable I have felt physically. My knees were creaky, my feet were tender, and my back was stiff. My quads would not stop begging for the foam roller. Because historically I have a tendency to self-sabotage and it has not totally died, I withheld my body’s request for two whole days. Foam rolling has been a major part of my training and a major necessity in my return to running after being injured two years ago. When I’m doing it consistently, I tend to not mind keeping at it, and the benefits are enormous. Once I start skipping it–it gets harder and harder to get back to, and my muscles suffer in the constricted fascia surrounding them.

Honestly, I think the beginning of this week was just me being a bit of a baby. I’d done all this work and then felt a bit annoyed about how much more I needed to do to repair my body and help it recuperate and prepare for it’s final challenge. Luckily by midweek I got over myself and my eyes were back on the prize. A massage on Thursday night was not quite as transformative as I wanted it to be, or as the week before. But I knew this could largely be due to the cumulative effect of training. My massage therapist and I came up with a plan for two more sessions before the race, and I left her in a fairly even headspace. Once I had a yoga class under my belt Saturday morning, I started to feel more like myself and definitely less pessimistic about the 12 miles I had planned for Sunday.

I’m not gonna lie, it took till about mile 9 for me to stop feeling like the Tin Man on Sunday. Usually by mile 4 or 5 I’ve got enough synovial fluid to lubricate my joints and I can start to maintain a more free flowing stride. Not so on Sunday, but I’m glad to say I did hit a smooth groove eventually. I was happy with my pace on this run as well considering I made a very conscious effort to take it easy and slow it down. I never felt winded on this run and didn’t feel like I was pushing myself at all until the last mile. This was a confidence booster. It told me that my fitness was definitely there.

Now that week 2 of tapering has began I am reducing everything by about another third. This applies not only to my running, but to my strength training as well. I read in a lot of running publications to stop strength training altogether during the taper. This didn’t feel right to me though. I’m also overly skeptical of most running publications when it comes to other activities besides running. Sometimes I feel like the editors add in “sure, you should strength train and stretch and do yoga and stuff to compliment your running,” but the advice is a bit half-hearted. I’ve seen many of these articles end with something like, “but if you don’t have experience with strength training or yoga, don’t start them while you are training.” I understand that advice, but I also think it often comes from running junkies who ultimately put the miles before everything.

For me, I know that my body wasn’t really made for long distance running. Don’t get me wrong, it’s strong as hell. But the shape and way that I carry my weight are just not ideal for pounding the pavement for miles and miles. In order to bypass my genetics and have some success in the sport I love, I’ve learned that my body requires me to stretch and strengthen it in very deliberate and focused ways. I know that these practices do not make me invincible, but I do find them to be my best shield against injury and my biggest ally in improving my overall fitness. So, for that reason, rather than eliminate my strength training right away, I have decided to taper it down just like my running. While I normally do three sets of everything in my circuit, last week I did two. This week I will be doing just one set, and next week, I will lay off the weights completely as I prepare for the final countdown.

It’s funny, throughout this entire process, so many of you have emphasized the mental part of all of this to me. I think the beginning of this past week I was trying to check out. I was hoping taper meant my body could just go through the motions and my mind could take a vacation. I know now after just a couple taxing days that that is not going to work. Right now I am just looking to find a balance that is somehow both relaxed and focused. At times, rest seems to be even more of a challenge for my mind than exertion. So much to learn at each part of this process.

Who else out there is tapering? How is it going? What are the ups, the downs, the things driving you sideways? Anyone else super sore from your last heavy week? What about my pros out there who have already done this–any more taper advice I’ve got to know?

 

 

header image: vladislav muslakov

62 thoughts on “Week 16: “Everything Hurts!”

  1. You are the first one I have visited since my return stateside. Perfect timing for me. You definitely popped into my mind on the weekends with your long runs and I knew the taper would “play with your brain” a bit. Sounds like you have taken the deep breath you needed and are ready. I cried when I ready your story about your “rock bottom” post and love how much strength it has thrown at you.

    And now…the real question. What are you wearing race day? THAT is always THE question. ☺️ 😂😉. Is it cute, or THE most comfortable, or meant to inspire others. I always loved to see the t-shirts with inspiring things on the back. Me? I always wore the exact same thing for all my long runs, so it would feel the same. I wish I could be there for race day to see you cross the line. Hugs my friend. Do one thing…do YOU! Hugs to your husband too, the support system is as important as the training….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As if you could make me feel any more special Donna!! And somehow you already knew right where I was at even before reading! You are right, that rock-bottom has bounced me up and out into the world in a major way, I couldn’t be more grateful for it.
      I’ve never been a flashy one–so my race day outfit is very me–all black everything–sleeveless and shorts. Going to be a bit warm out there–not worried about that though, I’m a bikram girl, i was made for the heat! I am like you, i have ran in the outfit many times–def for comfort and no surprises. I thought long and hard about wearing some sort of message but i eventually decided that that might be for a future race. I am also not putting my name on my shirt as many have suggested. I’ve got so much emotion going into this race already, I think to much direct attention will put me over the top, not in a good way!
      You may not be physically be there on Sunday–but trust, you will be with me!! And I will give my hubs a squeeze too and tell him it’s from the other part of my support system!! x

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  2. Best of luck with your taper. One thing towards the beginning of your taper-little extra protein in your diet to help in the repair and building of your muscles, then towards the end of your taper transition to a larger proportion of carbs for a carb load. But protein for repairs should help smooth things out cuz that last big push week hurts! I still remember it haha ❤️

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  3. I am doing the opposite of tapering and steadily adding on the miles, but I’ve got a few calendar pages before my 26.2! Last week was two runs home from work (5 miles each), parkrun 5K on Saturday and a long run (13.1 miles) on Sunday. Physically felt good at the end of that week and this one, so planning to do the same again.

    Running magazines and websites I do take with caution: whilst I believe the good intentions are there and ultimately these publications and writers are (hopefully) doing it for the love of running, I do come by things that seem very rushed when it comes to training and nutrition. I try and take the approach of absorbing the information but taking it with a pinch of salt, filtering it, cross referencing, trying it out myself, etc.

    Good job on recognising you need the rest. I think it’s one of the hardest things to get right for most of us! There’s always that nagging fear of ‘will it go terribly if I miss this session’, but getting that confidence that your body is giving you the answer and all you need to do is listen is key.

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    1. Thanks Paul. I think a huge part of this marathon training process has been learning that I really can trust my body–there were times in years past I thought it might be lying to me–but we are really working together now and I trust it’s voice 100%. Gift of the training I think! Glad your runs are going well!!

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  4. I know you are much younger than me, but my body seems to need two days after the 16 mile mark!! My normal running routine is that I do not run consecutive days, at least not anything over 4 miles. My hip and knee don’t care much for it. So taking an extra day is totally worth it.

    Enjoy the rest to the taper, your 26.2 is just around the corner and you’re going to crush it!!

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  5. Tapering is so hard, and I feel like it’s been anything but a vacation for my mind! I’ve been fighting through some knee pain so I know the best thing for me to do is rest up for the big day, but it’s hard to get past thinking that I’m somehow losing fitness if I don’t keep my workouts up to where they’ve been.

    Good luck with your race! I know you’ll kill it. Can’t wait to hear about it 🙂

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    1. You got his girl. One week from today 🙊🙈🙊🙈. Can you believe it? Trust that training, you got this. No gaining fitness or losing it from here on out, everything you need is in your body, mind , and heart. Sending you 💪🏽❤️ vibes all week! x

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  6. You’re definitely doing the right thing by resting when you’re body is struggling chick. It’s too easy to get stuck in the mind set of ‘Rest is for the weak’ No one knows you better than your own body, so if it says ‘Not today’ listen. If any one of my friends read the advice I’ve just given you they would laugh, as I’m the worst for doing this. But I do pay the price. Injuries, over tired, lack of drive. So I know it’s wrong to keep pushing. I’m trying to do better.

    I think there should be an AA for over trainers. Hi, my names Debbie, and I’m an over trainer. It’s been four months since my last rest day. Do what your body wants, not what your heart is pushing for. Eventually they should sinc 😂

    Well I’ve got my marathon this Saturday, and I don’t think it’s possible to taper the training I’ve been doing 😂 I will be relying heavily on my mental strength to get me through.

    Keep up the awesome work chick 💪 xx

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    1. HAHA, AA for over trainers, I love it!! I laughed out loud when you wrote “it’s been four months since my last rest day.” I laughed and then I thought, OH God, I hope that is not true!!
      I will be thinking of you this Saturday lady–I imagine you must learn something really valuable from each race–even when you haven’t prepared for it in the exact way you would have hoped. Can’t wait to hear what that is!! Enjoy it! And thanks for all this! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s not quite true…..😂. Thanks for your thoughts today, I felt spurred on by invisible forces and will put some of that down to you! I will do a blog post for the run tomorrow. But know it was hard and it hurt, but the supporters pushed me along and also my fellow nutter runners. Epic day! Now gonna curl up and sleep 😂 x

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  7. Listening to your body is absolutely essential, so well done for taking Tuesday off! I learned that in my bike racing days and over the years I’ve got good at tuning in to how I feel. I can’t believe you’ve only got about 9 days to go, so excited for you!

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    1. I can’t believe only 9 days either Ali. I am freaking out a little cause my body is still hurting–it seems like pain is just moving up and down my body and finding little spots to reside in all day. I actually remember my hubs going through the exact same thing during his taper so I am trying to keep that in mind. Still not so fun!! I am hoping yoga and rest this weekend will relax my mind a bit and it will translate into the rest of my body!

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  8. qplourde

    As everyone else has said, the extra rest day is fine. It’s more important that you listen to your body now than force a workout – you’ve done all the work, now you need to make sure you make it to the start line uninjured. The mental part is SOOO important. I think the one thing that carried me through when I started having issues during my marathon was my state of mind. Take it all in and enjoy everything. You got this! And during my taper, I wanted to kill everyone so I think you’re in good shape.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, Q–I don’t know if I want to kill everyone but I am sure everyone wants to kill me! I’d say one might describe me as “moody” on a good day, so I am sure I have been a blast for the hubs and coworkers the past few! Taking another rest day tomorrow. I’m going to trust that it’s ok. I just REALLY need the sleep, and i gotta make it happen somehow. Trusting that the work is in there and the few runs I have left will be enough. thanks girl! x

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  9. I love that you’re listening to your body. Honestly, that’s one of the hardest parts of marathon training. We always want to follow the plan to the letter, but the plan doesn’t know how it actually feels in your body. Everyone has advice to offer, and so much of it is wonderful advice, but at the end of the day your body knows best. I definitely regret it when I don’t listen to my body. Congrats on getting through the hardest parts of training. Now you can just enjoy a little recovery before your victory lap at the marathon! YOU GOT THIS!

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    1. Thank you so much lady!! Yes so much advice–but yours is probably the best, listen to MY body. I am glad for this post because enough people have shared from their own experience and it has really helped. I didn’t miss one workout in 15 weeks, I know the work is done–definitely have to trust in my training!! Thanks so much for chiming in-love hearing from you!

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  10. Everyone’s said it really: relax. It’s all good. Training is in the bag. Listen to your body (less so the brain) and if you need rest, take it. Follow the programme for the taper and ease off on the other exercises. If you are feeling twitchy after a few days, and the body is saying ‘let’s go!’, well then, good… that’s the whole point! But don’t skimp on the rest. We only get fitter when we rest.

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  11. Welcome to tapering!! Wait until the end of this week, you’ll feel like you can take on the world. The hard work is done, you’ve put in the hours, now reward the body (& mind) with an easier few weeks and it’ll repay you with interest on race day!! Enjoy!!

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  12. Keep listening and trust yourself and what your body tells you! Sleep is wonderful for body repair. And body repair is an inflammatory process, so no surprise that you were achy and a wee bit feverish after your 20 miler.
    Did I mention trust yourself and get plenty of rest? Why yes I did.

    Happy tapering, and keep that yoga mind noticing!

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    1. I have to say Steph, that is the one place I am failing right now–sleep! There just aren’t enough hours and too much going on. I think i just need to do the best i can each night and trust that i will be ok! I had someone write to me that I should try to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night–but I have no idea where those hours would come from! ah well. thanks Steph!

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  13. I ran 20 on Sunday and then had a tough track workout yesterday morning. My body quit on me by the afternoon. I thought I was coming down with the flu (achy and feverish) so I went home from work and SLEPT. I slept about 14 hours. I’m good as new today 🙂

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  14. Hanna

    I love taper! It is my favorite part of training! It’s so nice to not have to run so.many.freaking.miles. That said, keep in mind that it’s not going to feel good right away. It usually takes at least 10 days of tapering before I finally get that relaxed and fresh feeling. The cutback is when my body finally has time to realize how tired its been. For some reason a lot of us fall into the trap of thinking that because we started taper we should feel that way right away. But you just ran a 20 miler! Your brain may know it’s taper day 1, but your body doesn’t. All the creakiness and fatigue you are experiencing is normal – just follow the plan and it will work itself out in time.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think running publications are discouraging people from starting yoga/strength during training because they devalue those things. It’s because trying to start a new activity while also taking on a heavy training load is overwhelming for a lot of people, and they end up quitting for that reason. The best time to start non-running fitness activities is actually when you’re *not* training, so you can get into a habit and routine and it won’t be so hard to add in when you start training again.

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    1. Hey Hanna! Yes, thanks for all of this, i think you are right that it will all work itself out. I have trusted the process this far–it’s not time to stop now!
      And yes, totally get your point about the running pubs–I know that’s what they mean. I think I was just using the opportunity to vent my annoyance with how I feel like they treat non-running activities. But you are right, I understand the advice!!

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  15. Way back when I switched my schedule to Sunday being the long runs, it meant this week was probably better for me as I always had 2 days between my 20mile and 5 mile on Wednesday. That likely helped me, as I’m guessing running on Tuesday would have been more tempting to miss.

    Another thing that may have helped is that I’m a very laid back personality, and therefore at no point have I ever pushed myself too hard so that I’m really sore. As someone said on my post when I talked about maybe taking it too easy, you habe to listen to your body and at this point pushing too much risking injury is very scary….

    11 days to go… nearly there.

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  16. I was so excited to get to the taper throughout the whole training programme and then when I finally got to it and was like WWWOAH I just want to run!!!!!! IT is a vital though and I strongly believe the taper, rest and recovery were just as vital to my marathon as all those long runs were!!
    YOU’VE GOT THIS!! Happy tapering 🙂

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    1. Yeah I am not anxious to run so much–I have def learned from all of you that I need the taper and i believe it and respect it. Just wasn’t expecting to feel so not great during it, lol. But some of these comments are easing my fears a little–perhaps I am right where I am supposed to be after all! Thanks lady!!! xx

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  17. I’m a firm believer these days in listening to my body – particularly when it comes to skipping or shortening a session or to dealing with a taper. My training over the last couple of weeks has been pretty erratic because of work and other commitments – so for example just over a week ago I broke 16 minutes for our 4km time trial on the Thursday night, ran a half marathon PB on the Saturday morning and then had no chance to run for a week! Officially my taper begins on Monday (hilly half marathon this coming Sunday marks 2 weeks until the marathon) but I’ll just make it up as I go along. It’s really funny to read about the shock at everything hurting – you will get some days where nothing hurts (much) I promise haha 🙂

    Best advice I was given around tapering – get plenty of sleep and eat well, everything else kind of takes care of itself!

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  18. Your taper plan sounds great, but yes, I’d keep up the strength training. I know loads of runners through my club and I know the ones that break down are the ones that don’t do strength training, yoga, rolling and stretching. They will go on and on running, then boof, gone.

    Also: maranoia. We walk more carefully, we hold ourselves stiffly when there’s any kind of worry, we magnify any small pain. I went through that massively last time (first mara); this year on my holiday 3 weeks out I went climbing all over steep paths and steps and the like, and was far less stiff and sore and panicky.

    You’ve got this, as you know.

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    1. Maranoia!! LOL, that is kind of great–also a wonderful explanation I think of a lot of what I am feeling. Thank you for sharing this–I’m gonna pay attention to my body, but maybe not go overboard with every ouch I feel. Thank you Liz!

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  19. I flunked my first four marathons from over training and almost did my fifth which saw me eventually delaying 4 weeks, running nothing for two weeks then up to 16m before the event and I still got round. With a time which really surprised me. You’ve done the hard work honey and what an amazing journey, listen to your body as it sounds like you’re doing, having a yoga mind helps that …. I’ve discovered this a lot! Final part now is just not to get injured 😉 and enjoy your big day! 😊😊

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  20. Taper is by far the best part of the training plan. Although it took at least three before I truly believed in the process. I actually had to skip my last long run (28 Miles) before taper because I attempted to do almost sixty miles and go to teenage church camp with little to no sleep. I finished the run anyway in a decent time. So it’s ok to skip a run! I’m glad you listened. I’m opposite. I would rather run for miles than strength train or do yoga. I’m a runner junkie.

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