Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sorry, Hal: I'm not running 12 miles this weekend

During my half marathon career, I've stuck with Hal Higdon training plans, and I've been mostly pleased with the results.

One question I've had, though has been growing more persistent as I gain more experience, read more about running and talk more to other runners: Why do long runs continue to add distance right up to race day?

Just about everyone else suggests weaning yourself off the long run in the final few weeks. Not Hal.

I've kept faith with Hal, though, for varying reasons: Because at some point, we're all noobs and follow the first voice we hear. Because I wanted confirmation that I could run longer than 10 miles. Because the previous long run had been awful, so I wanted redemption. Because I think of myself as running better while a little tired than super-rested.

This time around, after I'd finished the 11-miler with a little more than two weeks until race day, it was that long runs had gone so well, I wanted another triumph and the satisfaction of a hard day's work — plus practice in actual springlike weather.

It doesn't look like that weather will arrive in time for the days on which I can do the 12-miler, but that's OK: I've changed my mind and won't be doing another double-digit run.

Don't think this is a total rejection of Hal; this is just an agreement to disagree.

Leading up to my first half marathon, I had a bad encounter with two loose dogs that scared me past tapering into becoming a couch potato, and I could definitely feel the rust. Since then, I've been leery of tapering — and I think that's the underlying reason behind my dedication to Hal's persistent long runs.

The pre-5K taper plan seems to have paid off; a PR is irrefutable proof that proper tapers work.

And, as it stands right now, all of my previous diligence — a personal best — has paid off tremendously, and I feel both physically and mentally prepared.

So why pile on more miles than necessary? I have no nagging injuries, but there are the occasional aches, pains, stiffness and soreness that could probably be eased or avoided by easing up a bit.

No hard feelings, Hal. It's just that your novice is growing up, and she knows that it's OK to disregard advice if it doesn't work. (Peanut butter before long runs, I am glaring hatefully at you.) Just don't say "I told you so" if I fall flat on my face April 28.

1 comment:

  1. LOL at the peanut butter comment. PB and I are NOT friends before runs. Glad you're listening to your body instead of your training plan. The plan is there as a guide, but at this point you definitely know best. Enjoy the taper!