I have almost completed my “speedy taper” for this upcoming Sunday’s Winter Series 10 miler. Today, I did two 400-meter intervals on the treadmill at 6:11 minute-per-mile pace (an optimistic 5K race pace…) followed by walking 400 meters. I have to admit that the lack of quantity is making me a bit nervous, but I have been told to remember Bill Bowerman’s famous quote, “The hay is in the barn.” I’m hoping that Sunday’s race will be a good test of the “speedy taper” strategy, but I am also coming down with a cold, so we’ll see.
I have already made some important discoveries that should help my running regardless of what happens on Sunday. First, I think I am going to try a walking recovery between intervals when I do my speed work in the future. In the past, I have always tried to do slow recovery runs, but I find that I have to be in extremely good condition to manage ten quarters. I would like to do more, but by ten, I am just beat. I found that when I did five quarters on Monday and walked a quarter as recovery, I felt great. I think that shifting to an easier recovery might allow me to use the intervals to work on my speed, rather than endurance, particularly towards the end of the workout. Second, I read that you might gain weight while doing the speedy taper. I didn’t think much of this warning; but, sure enough, I did gain several pounds, and it makes sense. The very light quantity of running during this week has not required a whole lot of calories to fuel, but I have been eating the same amount of food. The article that I consulted concerning the speedy taper, told me not to worry about this, since it was basically an outcome of carbo loading and would help me in a longer race. We’ll see. I’m not thrilled with the weight gain (1 pound equals 1-2 seconds per mile), but we’ll see what happens. I’m looking forward to the race, but I am also looking forward to getting back to doing some hard training next week.