A Taper is a period of time during which we back down the amount of exercise that we are doing in preparation for an upcoming race.
I've never truly embraced the concept of a taper. When I decrease the amount of exercise that I am doing, I feel sluggish. Invariably, I gain a pound or two because I'm not as active. But, when I stick with the taper plan and am rested before a race, I do well.
Last weekend's 18 miler went much better than the one before it. I had some good runs this week. This morning, I ran a total of 8 miles, six of those miles with the LA Leggers 9-minute per mile pace group, which is the first time that I have run with this faster group. It was a challenge running 8:20 per mile for eight minutes and then walking a minute, and keeping that pace while running up a couple of steep hills, but I was able to do it.
Tomorrow I'm doing a 5K race, just to get an idea of how much I've improved since July, when I had a personal best of 24:55. I would love to break 24 minutes. Then I'm going to go for an easy hour-long bike ride.
My strategy for Race Day at the Long Beach Marathon next Sunday: Coach Jamie wants me to start at a 9:15/mile pace. I think that's a little aggressive, but if I'm rested up enough, maybe I can keep that pace up for the race. If around mile 7-8 I feel like that's a little too fast, I'll back it down. My goal is to run in under 4 hours and 5 minutes.