It’s peak week here, depending on how you define it. I’ve heard the term refer to the week of peak mileage that comes directly before the three-week taper (which this is), or, alternately, the week before the race in which the body reaches peak fitness due to the recuperative qualities of the taper period (which this is decidedly not).
In any case, the training is starting to add up and I’m tired. My legs are fatigued and I’ve learned to never judge a run based on how you feel in the first 2 miles – it usually takes that long to shake off the rust and start feeling a little more smooth. But beyond the physical fatigue, I’m just tired. For instance, about 10 miles into yesterday’s run my legs were feeling great as I rolled along at cruising speed. But I felt like I might actually doze off if I closed my eyes at that moment. I was thisclose to finding what pace I could actually run in my sleep.
This training cycle has included only one recovery week, which was capped off with a long run of 13 miles. That run was almost 240 miles ago, in mid-January. Since then it’s been a steady diet of heavy (for me) weekday mileage and 18- to 22-mile long runs every weekend, including last Saturday’s 18-miler that I inadvertently ran at race pace, thanks to a misleading GPS. (After that run I finally sent back the Timex Global Trainer because it never produced even a near-accurate result on any run. I ordered the Garmin 210 and it should be here soon.)
Today’s 8.3-mile easy jaunt will be my shortest run this week, and my long run will be 20-22 on Saturday. I’ll be running about 53 miles total, plus my regular twice-weekly cross-training sessions which would be equivalent to the effort of about 15 additional running miles.
I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a high-mileage runner, but there’s no question that I’ve been running more than I ever have. And I’ve definitely been feeling the cumulative effects of all this training. There have been a few times when, in the middle of a draining run, I’ve thought to myself, “Imagine how wonderful this is going to feel after your taper.”
But this is a good tired – it lets me know the training is working. I finish every run with the confidence that the miles I just covered will pay dividends on race day. I’m eager to put in the hard work over the next few days and finish strong, but I also know that I just have to make it through this week and I am rewarded with a reprieve, a chance to cut back on the mileage and finally catch my breath.