Officially, my taper for the Grand Rapids Marathon started last weekend with a 13 mile run on Saturday. I haven’t gotten stir crazy yet, because I am still training enough that my body needs some recovery time. I do recognize that it is far too late to change anything, so there is no point is second guessing myself. Now I have my bouts of confidence and doubt. I have set my goal of 4:30 somewhat scientifically, using the Daniel’s vDot formula. Based on my most recent 5k time my vDot scored at 40, a few months earlier a 2:04 half-marathon scored a 35 and based on the last 3.1 miles, it probably could have been better. Using that 35 vDot would put my estimated Marathon time at 4:17. I have decided that I will be a bit more conservative and aim for a 4:30 which would be the time for an approximate vDot of 32.
My doubts begin because during my long training runs, I was blowing up somewhere around 14 and 15 miles running at a pace slower than my planned race pace. Last year at the Detroit Marathon, I blew up at mile 16 which is about as far as my longest training run. I remember the sufferfest of finishing the last 10 miles walking because my Heart Rate was too high and running because walking hurt too much.
What is giving me confidence is that I am significantly faster at shorter distance than last year and even my long runs are at a faster pace than last year. Just last night I ran a 27 minute 5k without trying real hard. I ran a 10k at 8:55 pace the day after a 10 mile long run. Last year I ran a 10k at 9:07 pace with a rest day before. I am a completely different runner this year. All of my long training runs are on average 30 seconds per mile faster than last year and I have double the number of runs over 2:30 this year over last.
I will be using the Marathon Nation pacing guidance like I did with great success in the Martian Half-Marathon earlier this year. I hope that I can make Coach Patrick proud with this one too. I actually am looking forward to tapering because I almost feel beat up. I expect the taper will help me get the strength back to get to mile 20. I know after that I am on my own.