A Non-Traditional Approach to the Taper

by Christa Davidson, Le Team du Rob -

With just shy of three weeks to train until May 25 arrives, Ottawa Marathoners are looking ahead to taper time. This is a good time to steer clear of grouchy, hungry, misplaced runners who don’t know what to do with themselves without a gruelling schedule of high kilometers and repeats.

ChristaTeamShirtHaving said that, this a brief account of why I will not be one of them. This season, my family, friends and coworkers can rest easy knowing that I will not be joining the ranks of the taper-ees. They can relax and put away the eggshells upon which they had to walk last fall at this point in the training cycle. Despite the incredible mentorship and coaching Rob has demonstrated, my body has fought me the whole way. The on again, off again discomfort in my leg has kept me from being able to take full advantage of Rob’s wisdom.

For about two weeks I felt like my Physiotherapist Glenn Wark and I had the problem licked. I was running and building without any notice from my leg and then after a long run it reminded me that it wasn’t going to go away. Feeling frustrated and doubtful, I sent an email to Susan at the Ottawa Marathon and suggested that I should run the half marathon instead of the marathon.  Susan advised I  talk to Rob first and second, put me in touch with Kevin from the Peak Centre in Ottawa.

ChristaTrainingKevin responded quickly to my questions about advice for my leg and training. He assessed that the Physiotherapy approach being taken with my injury was about all that could be done at this point in the training cycle. Essentially there is no magic and there are no miracle treatments that will entirely fix the issue if I am going to keep running on it. He ended with interest in being in touch with me after the race to determine what could be done to help my issue. I am grateful for Susan’s referral and Kevin’s support even though there isn’t enough time to make a big difference for this year’s race.

Rob reassured me that my recent finish at the Toronto Yonge Street 10k demonstrated that my fitness level, combined with my running history were good enough to run this marathon. He made revisions that have been helpful in keeping my leg issue at bay. So, the marathon is on! I am running three days a week and cross training two days a week. I am doing specific exercises to help my leg, along with performing running specific strength exercises, three days a week. My long run this week will hit 25 kilometers and with time running out, there will be no tapering. The next couple weeks will see me add to that long run and ideally round out to 30-32km the week before I toe the line in Ottawa. The race plan will be to run for fun and think of it as training. There will be no heroic time goals, simply a chance to start the race, experience the sights and sound, take a few selfies and then the big goal which is to cross the finish line with a smile and a fist pump and of course, another selfie.

Is this the traditional training plan? Noooo. Is it possible? Abso-friggin-lutely! Many of us know, in life as in running, more than half the battle is in your mind.  Believing it CAN be done will get you farther than disbelieving. Knowing this and believing it has me doing psychological training as well. I am reading books that are positive, I am meditating and I am visualizing being calm and strong when the going gets tough.

I have kicked an alcohol addiction, despite the gruelling nature of early detox and physical and mental cravings and I have remained sober for over three years. I CAN do the Ottawa Marathon.

I will have race updates enabled on my twitter feed, so follow along @christadavidson and for the love of Pete send me your positive vibes on race day!

Christa Davidson is running the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon on May 25th as part of Le Team du Rob. You can find Christa’s own blog at http://runninonempties.blogspot.ca/