Freaking out: Too soon to taper?

June has come and gone. In total I ran 104 miles during Juneathon month, achieving what I set out to do which was hit 3 figures. Still surprises me that some people run that in a week! Anyway, while I didn’t work out every day, the whole Juneathon challenge gave me incentive and motivation where it might have been lacking. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Actually, not funny – bloody annoying. Mind you, motivation wasn’t lacking yesterday when I went out for a 30 mile jaunt along the trails. Planned as my longest run in the lead up to the end of July, I loaded up my pack with 3 litres of water, a couple of bags of jelly babies and set off. I had thought about making it a dry run to get used to running with kit but the problem with doing 30 miles solo and unassisted is a distinct lack of checkpoints with water, food and cheery souls to wish you well. So I took water instead of kit which I think was the right thing to do.

All told, I think the run went well. 30.5 miles in ~5:30 with 3600ft ascent. The second half was definitely slower and, at the time, I’ve got admit that I wondered how I’d push on for another 70 miles but the answer to that came today: I don’t feel like I ran 30 miles yesterday and this evening I’d have happily gone out for a gentle 10 miles.

So why, then, am I thinking of starting my taper now?

Simple answer: not everything is roses. Hold on – that’s not simple, that’s a metaphor. Simple, non-metaphorical, answer then: niggles in my right leg are playing up. I think the problem is to do with my horrendously tight calves because I feel pain – working upwards – in my heel (plantar fasciitis?), my achilles (tendonitis?), my knee and my hip (ITBS?) Yeah, perhaps a little hypochondria there but there are aches and tightness and possibly some inflammation and it needs to be gone before the end of the month. So early onset of taper may give me a chance to ease off and correct things rather than aggravate them some more. It’s my own fault – not enough stretching or time with the foam roller – but four (3.5?) weeks should be okay, shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t it?

Thinking it through, I have, at best, two more weeks of training, but in honesty, I don’t think anything I do between now and then is going to make that much difference, physically, to whether I get around or not. It’s not like I’m aiming for a top-10 placing where speed is everything. The worst thing I could do, at this point in time, is aggravate things so that, physically, I can’t get around. Switching some of my running sessions (of which there weren’t going to be many) to cycling, swimming or rowing (non-impact cardio) with some core work will keep the leg muscles firing and I do have some gentle runs planned – like a leg of the Endurancelife Real Relay – just to keep the rest ticking over.

And of course, I won’t be entering any track and field competitions the week before the race. I don’t know what I was thinking – whatever was in my pipe was probably not legal.

A trip to the physio is probably in order – although my regular appeaser-of-mind is bloody off in bloody Austria having finished an Ironman yesterday (well done Claire! Great result) – and I’m hesitant about seeing some random other because in my experience, most of them don’t understand that taking 6 weeks off isn’t an option. Hmmm… this is all sounding familiar. Yes, that’s it – I was in exactly the same position last year, although then it was just my knee. Note to self: dropping to the Lakeland 50 is still an option and you’re not going to DNF that now, are you?

So, in conclusion: I’m scared of DNF-ing – or even DNS-ing – because of these niggles. Those of you who got that in the subtext of the words that went before it, congratulations and give yourselves a hearty pat on the back, you smug buggers. I can’t bail from another race – from this race – again.

Time to stop freaking out and MTFU.

3 thoughts on “Freaking out: Too soon to taper?

  1. Liz @4races4cities

    It sounds like you know what you’re doing, and you’re right, if you start tapering now, it won’t hamper your physical fitness in any shape or form.

    I sat here for a while and tried to work out what DNF and DNS means.

    What does it mean?

    1. Tom Post author

      Close – but past tense. “Did not finish/start”. It’s the abbreviation you often seen on race results. At the bottom. After the list of people who finished.

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