That's it, 3 weeks to go to the big day and now time for the renowned Taper.
I've now ramped up my long runs to 20, 23 and 20 miles over the last 3 weeks and am feeling stronger each time, I could really do with the marathon now, that's what I was thinking after last Friday's final big run.
With my previous marathon experience back in September, I got my taper wrong I run my longest run of 24 miles 2 weeks before the race. I've learnt from this and this time round I'm going to do things right. I don't follow a programme but I've read up on the taper and giving it a bit more respect this time round.
The only trouble is I'm getting those racing doubts of "...but what if I lose my fitness", "...is 3 weeks too short/too long to taper", "...how near to the race should I run my final workout".
The truth is the way I'm feeling at the moment is that I don't want to stop. As I said earlier, on last Friday's run I felt really strong and I've run big miles on my last 3 weeks long run. I'm recovering quicker, I'm feeling less tired and getting no muscle soreness the day after these long runs, so why the hell do I want to stop surely I need to keep going and get even stronger! Despite feeling this way, I'm just going to have to bottle this energy up and listen to the experts and begin my taper. The plan is to drop my next long run to about 16 miles next week.
I'm now absolutely fed up of Lucozade! I'm drinking it before my long run, during my long run and after my long run! It's running through my veins! Where once a 4 pack of Fosters would sit on the kitchen worktop, now sits a 4 pack of bloody Lucozade.
On the subject of nutrition, one thing I have got right is taking gels. I've been using the Power Bar product since I stocked up and used them at my last 20 mile race. They don't cause me any stomach problems and they are working. I can definitely notice the difference using them and this is a new addition to my running that I've not got established before.
I feel this time round for my marathon I'm a lot more prepared and focused than I was previously and am satisfied with the way things have gone.
All things get put into perspective though, while on my run on Friday I could see a runner in the distance and used them as a focus and a plan to overtake. I gradually got nearer before over taking the older gentlemen giving me a confidence boost. Before long I could hear footsteps fast approaching from behind me and then the man pulled up beside me. "How far you going?" he said, "20 miles I said, you?" "I'm going 10" (Ha, beat you!) the game of running trumps continued..."But I went for 24 miles the other day" (Hmm, OK, 1 each!) "I'm training for London" I said, "Me too" the reply, "Have you run London before?" I asked, "16 times and a PB of 2:45 when I was 45" (Yikes!) he continued "I'm now 72 so won't be hitting quite that time now" and off he powered "See you soon"......Nuff said.