Thursday, September 29, 2011


In 9 days, I am (supposedly!) going to go down to Virginia and run 31 miles.

After my last long run, almost two weeks ago, I began to taper. "Taper" is perhaps a strong word, since I never really had a strict running plan. But following the 25-mile run, there have been no more runs above 10 miles, no more fast runs, nothing strenuous.

I thought that, as a result, I would have a lot more energy, that my legs would be feeling a lot more fresh. Nope. I've been feeling old and creaky and tired, and getting aches and pains in my knees and hips where I never had them before.

It's kind of worrisome! But after reading a number of blogs, it seems that this is apparently totally normal. As the body loosens up and heals all of its little tears and stresses that it never had a chance to heal before, this is what the body is supposed to feel like.

These same blogs say to have faith - that even though I don't feel it now, I'm going to be a lot more ready for race day. I sure hope so!


  1. make sure you go out for a couple miles (very slow) the day before race day to break everything up, get the blood flowing.

    this is the same way i used to feel when i'd taper before a big tri. the legs would ache and i would feel lethargic, as if my body was craving the exercise. but the 2 mile run the day before race day always made me feel ready to go come race morning.

    i still can't believe your first race is an ultra. is there going to be GPS tracking or anything like that? i'd love to follow the race.

    next week is an important week for nutrition!

  2. Yes, make sure to load up on the carbs a few days beforehand! And i'm interested to hear how your legs feel as you get closer to race day. Keep us updated!

    Personally, I don't have a race coming up - much less an ultra! - but I've been having more aches than I normally do (mainly the knees) and am wondering if that's a sign that the legs need some healing time. For now, i've been dealing with it via ice and an extra off day now and again, but i'm curious if I need to start dialing it back for a while in order to go bigger down the road (forgive the pun).

  3. i will say, and i think i did say in my post about injury status, that apart from the calf, my legs feel better than they have in a very long time for all this rest. clearly, i'm losing fitness like the titanic did buoyancy, but it does feel good to have that spring back in my step, even if only temporarily.

    joel, are you planning an extended layoff after the ultra?

  4. Eric- nope, no GPS tracking or such. This is no-frills. I don't even think they use timing chips. Once I'm done, I imagine I'll not run at all for a week or so, and it will be about a month before I ease back into long runs.

    Todd - all the advice I've read says to cut back on the running by 20% every three weeks or so, to give your legs some recovery time. I can't say I followed that mathematically, but it may be good advice if you're not already doing it.