The Hands on House half marathon I’m running is on Sept. 29th. That makes next week my taper week. In turn this week became “Panic Week”.
Let’s start off with the fact that I ran 10 miles on Sunday following a very solid race performance on Saturday in the White Rose 5 miler. Normally I would’ve made the long run two weeks before the half my longest run, but with having the race scheduled it disrupted my original plan. I ran somewhere between 13 and 14 miles the previous Saturday upon returning home from our tiny house trip. I’m not one to add on miles before or after a race, so I figured running 10 miles on Sunday would still make for a solid long run weekend. I contemplated running on the rail trail, but wanting one final challenge of sorts I instead ran to the high school, completed the Wildcat 10k course, and ran home. I felt fine during the run and took it fairly easy.
Monday I felt a bit sore, so I did a DailyBurn yoga workout consisting of mostly forward folds to help stretch out my hamstrings. I line judged a volleyball game that night as well which I figured helped my legs to be using them rather than to spend the evening on the couch.
I originally planned to do a short run on Tuesday, but my legs felt like pure crap. The DOMS hit full force. I’m convinced that running a hard 5 miles on Saturday followed by a hilly 10 miles on Sunday was much harder on my body than running nearly 14 miles. I took the day off from all exercise.
Wednesday I spent most of the day in the office. Many times this summer I have struggled to have good runs after being in the office. I attribute this to a difference in temperature mostly. Sitting in air conditioning all day is not my forte, and I find it makes me feel super hot upon leaving the building even if the outside temperature isn’t that hot. I met Todd and Armand for our group run that evening and from the start did not feel the greatest. My legs still didn’t feel fully recovered from the weekend, my stomach felt off (most likely from eating 2 pieces of chocolate chip cake in the office – another reason I hate going in there, I end up eating foods I shouldn’t), my uterus was cranky (yay being a female runner) and worst, a spot right at the top of my left hamstring kept twinging. I could deal with the first few issues and write them off, but the hamstring freaked me out.
I’ve been blessed to run and race injury free for quite some time since figuring out the source of my knee pain the other year. A twinge of something here or there usually is just a reminder that I need to foam roll a bit more. Instead of writing off the hamstring as that though, my brain went into overdrive worrying about injuring myself within a week of the half marathon. I was paranoid to pick up the pace at all during the run, babying my leg the whole time even though the twinging would come and go and never reached the actual point of pain.
We ran 6 miles and they were all super slow times. The fastest was a 9:15 and the course we ran wasn’t all that challenging. Todd chalked it up to us having all raced hard over the weekend, and us racing a good bit in general lately and not fully recovering.
Yesterday I was in the office most of the day again. After running crappy Wed. night I wanted to complete another yoga workout after work. When I got home though I literally had no energy for it. All I wanted was a nap, but instead I visited my parents before line judging another volleyball game. I arrived home at a decent time so I foam rolled a bit before bed. My legs, particularly my knees, felt a little odd. I rubbed doTERRA’s Deep Blue all over my legs before bed hoping it would help. Throughout the night I woke up with my knees feeling achy. This is not a common occurrence for me, and it wasn’t helping with my concerns over injury before the half marathon.
Today my legs are feeling alright. I’m speculating that the knee pain likely stemmed from wearing dress shoes to work for two days in a row. Two days at the office is a rarity for me, and although they weren’t high heels (I look like a newborn calf trying to walk in those), they were still at least an inch high of a chunk heel. This afternoon I completed both a short standing mobility workout and a 30 minute yoga hip openers workout. I also did a full foam rolling session after the workouts.
Tomorrow is my last “long” run before the half. Originally I planned to do 7 miles and have it include at least one good hill. I have since altered my plan to be 6 miles on the rail trail. As Todd put it on Wed. “the horse is in the barn” so to speak, and anything I do in the next week isn’t going to improve my performance in the half. I just need to stay loose and rested. I’m slightly nervous to run tomorrow as I don’t want the hamstring to flare up again. I really believe it was a fluke, but I’m not sure what caused it therefore I can’t rule out it being an underlying issue.
I don’t remember having a panic week last year before the Blue-Gray Half Marathon. I think I was just so psyched to run and confident. Up until this week I had plenty of confidence particularly with my great race times lately. Now I’m trying to not psyche myself out in the coming days. Fingers crossed for a good run tomorrow to help put me mentally back on track!
Do you mentally freak out leading up to a big race? What do you like to do during your taper week to feel ready to race?