Taper is important and it will improve race performance. For short races I usually never run after Wednesday or Thursday. For longer races I reduce the mileage the week before and skip the Saturday long runs. This year I have kind of gotten sidetracked and neglected the taper.
I have been pushing myself this fall. My pace is better then last year at this time. Each week I try to run the same distance or longer and at a faster pace. What I have been doing is running 18 or 20 miles this week and feeling like I should be able to run 18 or 20 miles faster the next week. This is certainly my OCD and it is not exactly smart training. This year I forgot about tapering between longer runs. When you break new ground you should give your body a chance to adjust to the new mileage.
Last year when I was training for a 50K I did 20 milers alternated with 16 milers. My pace is better than last year, but I am not improving from week to week.
The body needs time to get used to the mileage and also needs to rest and recharge before a big race. I have a half marathon in less than 2 weeks so I need to taper for that. My OCD will probably make me do an 18 or 20 miler this week. My compromise for tapering will be a midweek long run so I will be able to recover some by November 12th. OCD is a gift and a curse. It drives me to train, but it also can defy reasonable restraint.
I feel good about the Rocket City Marathon in December, but I have neglected the speed work that would help me run a PR on the half marathon. I have done my usual speed work but I should have done more to be ready for the half marathon.
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