Down to the final stretch now, with a little more than a week left to go before the half-marathon. As such, I'm heading into the main part of my taper and will be significantly cutting back my mileage this week. The last couple of months have seen my mileage go up significantly, so it will certainly be nice to be able to back off a bit.
Getting back to the previous week, things went pretty much as planned. The heat on Sunday made the 15K run a bit harder than usual, however I managed to maintain the planned pace without any issues. As mentioned in this post, we also replaced the speedwork session on Thursday with a hard tempo run which turned out quite well. With respect to cycling, I put in half centuries on Monday and Friday, as well as a hard 30K ride on Wednesday. In the interests of the taper, I elected to replace the 30K ride scheduled on Saturday with an additional 11.5km walk.
I also started working in a new pair of shoes for the race. While my old shoes still have plenty of life left (they're at about 400km), I managed to get a good deal on a new pair and figured it made sense to take full advantage of them. After the race, I'll switch back to the older pair until they are exhausted, but for the time being it is nice to be in a fresh pair again.
As mentioned above, we are beginning the main portion of our taper this week which will radically change the running schedule. Tomorrow, the LSD run will fall way back to 6K with an easy 30K ride in the afternoon. Monday will be a day off, followed by 10K and 6K runs at race pace on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will be days off, with a short 3K run on Saturday to keep the legs fresh.
As for cycling and walking, I'll be falling back on them as well to help maximize the recovery this week. I'll play this a bit by feel as I haven't found much documentation on how to handle other sports in a taper like this, but the current plan is to do a pair of relatively light rides on Sunday and Wednesday and I'll stick to warm-up/cool-downs (~5km on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday) for my walking mileage this week.
Sun (AM/PM) 6K LSD/30K Cycle
Tue 10K Pace
Wed (AM/PM) 6K Pace/30K Cycle
Sat 3K Steady
Sun 21.1K Race
Getting down to the race itself, my goal at this point is to aim for a 1:40 finish or about a 4:44min/km pace. I've successfully done 21.1km training runs at a 4:50min/km pace before and felt quite comfortable afterwards, so I believe that this is attainable in a race situation (especially as this course is much flatter than my training route). This will basically be the same pace that I ran the Midsummer Night's 15K race, however I've made a lot of progress in my training in the last month so as long as the weather cooperates things should go well.
While there is no 1:40 pacer, there is a 3:20 pacer for the full marathon so I'm hoping to stick with them until we break off. Naturally, if they don't maintain a stable pace I can go off on my own - but it certainly would be nice to stick with a group of runners throughout the bulk of the race. I still have to figure out my hydration strategy for the race, but with aid stations every 2.5km I will have plenty of leeway.
As for logistics, the plan right now is to head down to the expo shortly after lunch on Saturday, then check into the hotel and relax until the race itself. This should make things a lot simpler, and allow me to start the race better rested than I would be if I had to come in from home. The only question mark at this juncture is where to find appropriate pre-race food in the downtown core on Saturday night.