Taper time – the curse!

While the rest of the Northern hemisphere puts up its feet up for the winter, washes the mud off its shoes, and gets some base endurance training in for next season, us desert folks are racking up ready to race.

My first fixture of the new season will be the IAU 50km World Championships. No, I’m not running under GB colours. I’ve got a local entry. Team GB are actually fielding a wild card team at the event – I suspect the costs of travel for a non-Olympic sport ie runner pays for themselves, the closeness to Christmas and the timing of the event after the close of the main season mean many of our regulars decided to give it a miss.


Well, a bit more than a marathon – but you get the idea!

With five days to go; I’m well into taper which I hate. Yes I know the science, yes I know it works, but it still doesn’t get any easier. So far with not much training time scheduled this week, I’ve broken my iPhone, filed my nails and dyed my hair…boring, boring, boring!

It’s all too tempting to lace up and notch up some miles, I always feel so energized during taper I struggle to sleep. Thankfully, I’ve resisted the urge to do anything daft and try any new training configuration…I’ve been know to bust many muscles doing stupid things in taper ending up hobbling to the race start-line.

I did have a back/ hip flexor issue about a month ago but managed to inflict some self physio with a golf ball and bodyweight to release my own piriformis, thereby averting a hamstring issue (not recommended but when physios are like hen’s teeth you’ve got to try something 😉 ).

Reviewing my training progress, my endurance is strong. The distance won’t be a problem if I keep my fuelling sound. The issue will be my speed – or lack of it. My fast twitch muscles are still very much on holiday post 100 miler. I’m hopeful of their return, I’ve been training for their comeback, but I don’t think it will be before Friday. I’m pretty sure they are still lauding it up on the Jamaica beach equivalent for tired muscles.

And of course the track will be testing – 50km on a stone surface is murder. I’ll be compressing anything that wobbles and taping my toes together in an effort to avoid any undue shaking.

At least the weather will be perfect for fast running this year – well it’ll be perfect for anyone coming to visit…it’ll probably be a bit chilly for us locals 😉

So back to the taper, I’m looking at 30% of my max mileage this week, plenty of intense heart burning stuff to keep my metabolism kicking and plenty of resting. It’s just so boring; I’ve got used to the long ultra trail stuff where you spend your taper packing and repacking your kit, checking off lists and buying more stuff just instead. I don’t even have to do this for a road race, I’ve just got to show up and run a few 5km laps. What can possibly go wrong?

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