When running a marathon, you get to experience something called the taper. A taper is what you do two to three weeks before your marathon. Essentially, you chill out on your mileage in order to give your body time to heal and to store up glycogen.
For this training cycle, I chose a two week taper. Much of the literature out there says that if you're running less than 60 or 70 miles a week, which I am, then you only need a two week taper. Last week, I ran 53 miles. This week, I have cut my mileage back to 29 miles. Next week I'll only run about 17 miles before the marathon on Saturday.
Now tapering is a difficult thing to do. My body is ready for a race. It's been training for almost 19 weeks and is in the best shape of my life. Seriously, the best shape of my life including high school. Cutting back on miles is difficult. I feel lazy and feel like I'm losing speed. At the same time, I have aches and pains that are telling me that I don't have what it takes to go under 3. My shin splint in my lower left leg is telling me that it's a possible stress fracture, when I know full well that it's just a shin splint.
Finally, I am having to think about what I eat. When you're running 50+ miles a week, you can eat whatever you want and I do. When you're running less than 30 miles a week, you can't eat that much. In addition, cutting out the grease and fat becomes essential in cleaning out your system. Going to bed hungry because you're used to 1000+ calorie dinners and you just ate 500 calories with no ice cream is somewhat dissatisfying.
As you can tell, I am slowly going crazy and I need to race already.