A couple of weeks ago, I reached the point where my training could have essentially ended. The bulk of my quality workouts were done; I had amassed a number of miles meant to give my legs a taste of the harsh reality about to beset them. Since that point, my training has eased a bit, but not entirely. The back-to-back long runs still continue, but the long tempo runs have become fartleks of shorter workbouts at the same pace.
I enjoy running. I enjoy running hard and fast, putting in workouts that leave me feeling tired and accomplished at the end. As the season progresses, the race grows closer, and the hard training comes to a close. It’s bittersweet, really. For almost 18 weeks, I’ve had my eye on a single day and as it becomes nigh, there is nothing I can do.
I don’t really take time off, or go for a full out three week taper. With my first 50 miler seven training days away, I did my last real workout last night. A hodge-podge fartlek over twelve miles. I brought some surveyor tape to help mark the course for next Sunday so while I was aiming for five minute workbouts, some had to be cut short. And so begins the waiting game. A game of maintenance. While I need to keep my legs fresh and let them get a bit of rest, it’s important not to let them forget what they need to do. And herein lies the hardest part of training: the week before. It’s a precarious balance and I must be careful not to push too hard, it’s easy to do. Your legs start to feel fresh, the normal soreness besieged from long miles starts to dissipate, you feel like you can fly, but you can’t, you mustn’t allow yourself that luxury.
It’s really an exercise in discipline, I suppose.