Monday, February 12, 2007

Sunday Taper Run & Other Musings

So the object of the taper is to remove residual fatigue by race day without losing fitness. Removing fatigue is easy enough. Just stop running. But I don't think that is such a good idea because then your fitness slides. I also think that inducing very mild levels of fatigue promotes the body to undergo recovery processes...whatever that may mean. And practising race pace is Good. With these thoughts in mind, I decided that the last Sunday should be about 20 km with a mix of easy running and up to race pace, but nothing harder, and not too much of the race pace.

It turned out that my friend Colin had a plan for himself that closely matched what I wanted to do. So we ran two 2.5-km laps at pretty easy pace. I then changed to my brand new Asics Gelfeathers, purchased Saturday as a birthday present. I thought they and my feet probably should try to get to know each other a little before being forced to spend 42.195 km together next Sunday.

We switched from the off-road loop to the paved 1.94-km loop, then ran two loops at 4:40/km, two at 4:30/km, two at 4:15/km and one last one at 4:12/km. The pace was aerobically comfortable for me the whole way. My breathing was never very hard, though my heart rate was touching on 150 in the final two laps. Towards the end my legs were developing a few hot spots, but nothing too serious. Through the rest of the day I felt reasonably fresh as though I hadn't done anything much. Not like the fatigue you feel after a usual long run. So I do think that run trod a good line between a mild stimulus and not adding anything to the general fatigue level.

The new shoes were beautiful. Not even a hint of any rubbing or pressure that might lead to problems. I also wore a new pair of five-"fingered" socks, and they were great. This will be my marathon kit. When we were buying the shoes my wife said to the bloke in the running shop that I was there to buy some shoes for the marathon next week and did he have any recommendations. The patronizing bastard laughed and said you don't go buying new shoes now or you'll get blisters and other problems. Those shoes (pointing to the retired 2110s I was wearing) will do fine. I suppose I just didn't look much like a runner to him as I was wearing jeans and a down jacket over a flannel shirt. See, to be a serious athlete in Japan, you have to be wearing technical clothes festooned with logos. Gotta look the part. So anyway, I got a bit indignant and started to use the best Japanese I could muster to tell him that my present lightweight shoes, some Adidas Adizeros were just a little tight and also felt a bit hard on the footstrike, and that Asics shoes usually don't give me any problems, and that I had Gelfeathers in the past when I ran a 2:55 marathon, so I was thinking of using them again. Mr Smartypants stopped patronizing me after that and I only had to try the one pair of shoes to make the right decision.

Thanks for the encouraging words to my post of two posts back. Yes Ewen, controlled agression. I'm thinking an 87 minute half split, which will require some restraint because the first 5 km has a steady downhill gradient with a net fall of 40 m (so a tad under 1%). After that it is essentially flat. There are a few short sharp hills associated with bridges over the last few km, so their effect on pace will simply depend on how strong (or shattered) I am at that stage. But I'd like to think I'll be gritting my teeth and enduring some pain to maintain a pretty strong pace.

Scott, my self-esteem on the fathering front took a nudge upwards over the weekend when I fought off tiredness to eventually find a way to get videos from YouTube to Kohta's PSP. He'd been bugging me for a few days about it. Once it was cracked he was very happy, and I surprised him by loading this up as the first offering. Being 14 and a Harry Potter fanboy, he was pretty tickled. When I said I was a lousy dad, I suppose I was just trying to reflect the feeling we have that no matter how much we do with and for our kids, it never seems to be enough. And I know that with running and longish work hours, I spend much less time with them than I should or that I imagine I would if we lived in Australia...


Tesso said...

Come back and live here then ... with the family of course :-)

2P said...

"Removing fatigue is easy enough. Just stop running. But I don't think that is such a good idea because then your fitness slides" - yeah but, yeah but.... a fatigued muscle won't perform as well no matter the fitness level - somewhere in there is a happy compromise - the holy grail in fact.

Might be a personal thing but I would prefer to be fresh and underdone any day.

Clairie said...

Ha Ha Ha Ha I am just loving the mental picture I have of your talking techo to a shoe salesman.

I'd love the opportunity to say '....well when I was did my sub 3hr marathon..." GOLD!!!

Ingo said...

Wait, wait, wait! You're not seriously running in a new pair of whatever shoes you bought only last Saturday, are you? Allow me to be the good angel on your shoulder and remind you of something you know you already knew: it's probably not a very good idea. My most recent interesting shoe experience dates back to only the Shinjuku Half. My Adizero CS2 that served me so well over hundreds of kilometers changed their face out of the blue during a fast paced race - and that's a shoe I ran in before (just no fast HM). So you basically have no idea what to expect from your new shoe apart from the fact that the model name is the same as the one you ran in two years ago. You know better Steve. A model redesign can be a completely new shoe, and a new shoe is... well, a new shoe man! Can't put it better than that but you know what I mean. Also, did you ever buy two exact same pairs of shoes and found out that one is great and the other sucks? Now is not the time for a new shoe mate but good luck with it anyway. Best, Ingo

Scott said...

Yes, it's hard to be a good parent but somehow I think they will forgive us in the long run, so to speak.

Just last week I was asked "What language do you speak at home to your children?" And I gave my standard answer, saying nothing but raising my hand and gesturing to the back of it with a slight swing. People rarely have a follow up question to that.

Great clip, it sort of reminds me of the "Goons" You know was it "bluebottle?"

And I'd be surprised if you had problems with any well fitting shoe even if you wore it for the first time the same day of the marathon. Thesedays good shoes are pretty much made "worn in".

Stephen Lacey said...

Ha ha Ingo, you sound like that bloody shoe salesman, only not as patronizing. Thanks for your concern, but honestly I know what I'm doing. I really don't believe that the shoes need to be "run in" as such. But what you do need to do is put a few miles into them and check that they are a nice fit and not causing any pressure or rubbing and that the insole is nice and secure. (The only real trouble I've had from running shoes has been caused by moving insoles.) By the time the marathon runs around I'll have 30 or 40 km in the shoes. I can tell you already, after about 20 km, that these shoes have dissolved the shoe-related anxiety that I would have had if I had gone ahead and run in my Adizeros (which now have a few hundred km on them). Those buggers gave me a pretty bad blister on the end of my right big toe during Ohtawara marathon, but only because the insole started slipping around. I guess the point I wanted to make to the Art Sports guy, and now to you, is that I am aware of those arguments about new shoes, but feel I have enough experience to know what I'm doing. I think some makes of shoe, like the Asics 21xx, are almost so reliable that you could take a pair out of the box and run a marathon in them. Seriously. And this was not exactly the day before the marathon or anything. If the shoes gave ma any worries, I could always (reluctantly) go back to my Adizeros.

The problem with your Adizeros that changed their face after "hundreds of km" was that the bloody things were probably worn out ;-) Think about it. They are a light shoe, not a heavy duty trainer. Their life expectancy would be 500 km max.

Don't be afraid of new shoes! Especially models that are tried and tested for your feet. That's what I say.

Ewen said...

Sounds like a perfect course Stephen. Get it right, don't waste it.

I first saw Japanese runners 'wearing technical clothes festooned with logos' at the Gold Coast (and they were the 6 hour marathoners). I can just imagine that conversation, with you in Grizzly Adams attire.

I'm sure the shoes will be fine - just get the legs fresh and don't let the shoes make you run too fast too early ;)