Books have been written about peaking and tapering for a marathon, yet neither are easy to plan for or to execute. Invariably, one's training program is partially derailed due to illness, injury or other unforeseen event, resulting in last-minute revisions and adjustments. Is it better to taper over 3 weeks rather than 2? How do I know when I have reached peak fitness? The answers usually come with experience, but even seasoned runners can miscalculate and show up at the starting line with tired legs. It is definitely better to start a race slightly under-trained and fresh.
This morning I woke up with sore calf muscles which is never a good sign. No runner should have chronically sore calf muscles - it is one of the early markers of over-training as I know only too well, having experienced it a few years ago. Depending on how I feel early in the morning, I might postpone tomorrow morning's long run by at least one day to give my legs some additional time to recover. Either way I think I will reduce the distance by a couple of miles or so.
At least the end is in sight: already, my longest run (last Saturday's 20-miler) is behind me as I will be doing 'only' 18 miles tomorrow... This week has been quite taxing though with a fairly fast (8:50 pace) 10 mile run on Monday, an 8-mile track session including 4 X 1-mile repeats at around 7:00 pace on Tuesday, another 10 miles on Wednesday night at Memorial Park with 5 miles at 'marathon pace' of 8:33 and 6 miles last night, 4 of which were short hill repeats at the Barker Reservoir hill. Four sets of running up and down the hill twice and then going around on the top of the levee wall after the 3rd uphill. Only to start the same sequence again.
I am ready to start the taper, ready to run Boston and ready to end my marathon career on a high note!