Typically recovery and taper are two separate times in a periodized training plan. They share some characteristics in common such as lower volume and intensity with an emphasis on resting oneself. Taper typically comes before recovery and is intersected by the actual race. In my case, I am doing both at the same time which is a bit unusual in some running circles. When I first started running in 2010, common wisdom impressed upon me was that one should not run a marathon more than once or twice yearly. The idea is that the body just can’t withstand the force and energy necessary to properly recovery and train more then every 6 months. So that was how I set up my race schedule-one long race in the spring, and one in the fall. As I continued deeper into my running journey I encountered people who *gasp* ran 2 marathons in a season!! What the what?! I’m not going to deny that I looked at those individuals and pitied their poor bones and ligaments for how could it ever be possible that they properly recovered with so little time in between races? Not mention the nonstop training they must endure in order to achieve such a feat! At some point my thinking shifted rather dramatically to where it is today: Not only can one race multiple long distances in short time spans, but mere mortals like myself can do this aforementioned crazy impossible task! And without permanent bodily damage!
I think my shift in thinking began what I started running trails a few years ago. While traipsing through the woods for long hours, I encountered so many differnt people who had trained for incredibly long distances and had a lot of success with back to back long runs. So for some this might mean, 30 miles on Saturday followed by 20 on Sunday. A marathon was a typical weekend long run and not a once or twice per year event. Not only were they doing this on a regular basis, but they weren’t experiencing the injuries, exhaustion and general burnout that one would assume to be incredibly common with this training methodology. So my thoughts really shifted and instead of looking at running as a spring/fall seasonal thing, I began to view it through the lens of utilizing ongoing training with periodic buildups with the ability to capitalize on one traditional training cycle for multiple races.
For the last five months, I have been training for the Columbus Marathon and The Run with Scissors Trail Marathon which are separated by a span of 13 days. I didn’t do anything specific to train for two races so close together other then to try and vary the running surface for my long runs as the races are quite different despite being the same distance. Columbus is obviously all road wheres RWS in 100% trail and fairly technical trail at that. It includes some pretty rocky sections, several water crossings, multiple climbs and descents and the requisite roots of NE Ohio. I spent the beginning portion of my summer building base miles on a very technical section of the Buckeye Trail which runs the perimeter of the state of Ohio. I was recovering from an injury so it made sense to take it nice and easy on the trails. Come core marathon training weeks, I switched over to the roads to prep for Columbus.
Early training on the beautiful Buckeye with great friends
In a nutshell, last week and this week are combined recovery and taper weeks. At this point, it’s almost impossible to gain fitness so there really isn’t much I can do other then not be stupid and over train.
Here is what my last 9/10 days looked like:
Monday: rest day
Tuesday: Chiropractic appointment. Set out for an easy 2-3 mile training run but turned back soon after starting as it was clear that it was a tad bit too soon to return to running.
Wednesday: 3 easy early morning miles. Amy encouraged me to at least stay and do some core work but I wanted none of that ——->signs of losing motivation!
Thursday: rest day
Friday: 4 easy paced miles plus lifting and core work.
Saturday: rest day
Sunday: 9.5 beautiful trail miles in a local Metropark-talk about gorgeous! My tired glutes made a reappearance which made mile 8 feel like mile 24! Just need to say the company for this run was fantastic. So was the breakfast after.
Tuesday: 3 easy miles.
Planned for Thursday: 2/3 easy miles
Planned for Friday: rest day
Planned for Saturday: 26.2!!!
As you can see, I’ve done very little running since Columbus. It became clear to me on my weekend long run that my body was still really feeling the effects of the Marathon. I’m in a great headspace leading up to the next race but my legs need some time to catch up. Goal for this upcoming week is to do no more then the bare minimum in terms of running but just to keep moving a little bit so my legs are primed and ready for Saturday’s task.
Tell me: Have you ever raced twice in a short period of time? Any tips/advice/wisdom/good vibes is appreciated!