Manchester Marathon Training: Week 17 of 18

“Well if the taper is meant to help your legs recover, so far, so NOT good.”

That was what I said last week. This week though, finally, with 2 miles left of my last Sunday run today, this turned around to finally feel like I am approaching match fitness. 17 weeks are in the bank, and its race week next week, with nothing but a few short sharp runs standing between me and my second piece of marathon bling.

Despite being a taper week, it wasn’t without my own brand of personal anguish I like to bring on myself though. But here’s what P&D prescribed…


And this is what I actually ran. This screen and activity link below are from Strava today, as Garmin Connect was having yet another off day…


All exactly according to plan (Friday’s failure the exception, though the intent was there…), even to the detriment of my parkrun “road to 50!”. It’s been a week of “lasts” too. Many events have led me to say “Last on of those before Manchester now”. With the exception of Saturday the weather this week has been GLORIOUS, perfect running conditions.

Monday was a bank holiday and I had no walk following last weeks “tougher than it should have been” 16 miler. But Tuesday allowed me to recovery with a 7 miler including a set of strides. Happy with the strides, some of them I even took uphill thanks to some poor route planning. It was my last run in Coleshill before Manchester and I finished feeling reasonaby fresh.

Wednesday, I was back in Basingstoke for the last tough session. 8 miles including 3 x 1mi Intervals. The warm up went fine and the first 2 intervals were good too, but the third – just like when I am racing over 5k – saw me fade. I know more speedwork will help with this, and my main focus post Manchester is 5k so hopefully I can correct that.

Thursday was a rest day in favour of a recovery run with strides on Friday. And thats when the wheels fell off! Poor planning meant I had a crap breakfast (4 treat sized flakes and a creme egg) following a poor nights sleep, and had to run at lunchtime which I’m not used to either. I also had to run in my glasses, which made me feel a bit strange from the start. But to cut a long story short, the run was a struggle and after 2 miles my body just had nothing left. I cut my losses and walked back.

Its easy to look back with hindsight and attribute the problems appropriately, but at the time all that was going through my head was “I can barely run 2 miles at a recovery pace, how am I going to run 26.2??”. It’s just a hint of taper madness though. You don’t become unfit or a bad runner overnight, its just one of those things. And its better happening now than race day!

On Saturday, as I am trying to stick to the plan, I did not run at parkrun, rather I did some voluncheer tourism at Basingstoke. And what a day I picked for it! After some glorious weather this week, some how I ended up at the far corner of the curse marshalling in the miserable wind and rain, and it was freezing! Good to give back though, and was a very different experience to volunteering “back home”. It was lovely for many of the runners to say “thank you”. It’s something I do when I parkrun (And even in races sometimes, when I have the breath) and implore all runners to do the same. Without volunteers we have no parkruns or races!


Sunday saw my final long run. In the context of this training programme, 12 miles doesn’t seem that long! The first 8 miles were a real struggle. I continued to struggle with GI issues and had to stop twice. My biggest fear for next week is that I end up needing to stop to use the loo. I need to strategize to prevent that happening. Though the first 8 were a bit of a struggle, something then just clicked! The last 4 were an absolute pleasure and it had FINALLY felt like the taper had kicked in.

So there are now just 6 days to go, and 4 runs left until the Marathon. I’m off to Dubai for work on Tuesday, which means 3 of those runs will be in the warm climbs of the UAE on a dead flat beach path designed for running on. I can’t work out if this will be good preparation or not!



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