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Tapering process feels great so far

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  April 6, 2012 02:08 PM

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100dan_clayton.jpg Dan Clayton is one of five Boston Marathon entrants testing the Polar RCX5 personal training computer and blogging about it for Boston.com
Iíd like to start this post off with a message to the guy who runs the hot dog stand in front of the Javits Center. Yelling ďthe marathon is overĒ at me every day as I run by is almost never funny. I mean, come on man, change it up every now and again would you?

The shorts seem to be a popular area of ridicule, you could start there. Just keep it original and weíll get along swimmingly. Fair warning however, if you shout ďrun Forrest runĒ at me and then chuckle to yourself like youíre the first person to ever yell that at a runner, then weíre going to have a problem. Seriously, that movie came out in 1994.

That rant aside, this first week of tapering has felt great. While the mileage came down from 95 to 78, I tried keep the intensity level high so as not to get sluggish. As a result, I felt fantastic for my Wednesday workout and had to consciously reel the pace back in. The workout was a two-mile warmup and cool down with three five-mile repeats at marathon pace in the middle (quarter-mile recovery). The legs felt fresh as I came through the first Central Park loop way too fast in 28:30. I adjusted for the next two and kept the pace at a more appropriate 5:50 per mile.

Watching my heart rate with the Polar heart rate monitor has been a great way to validate how I feel on any particular day. I attempted this same workout last week and felt awful right from the start, which was shown by the fact that my heart rate stayed in the 170s through the entirety of the first interval. This week I did the exact same workout at a faster clip and my heart rate didnít rise much above 160. Itís great to be able to literally see the tapering process do what itís designed to.

As a distance runner Iíve always been told to listen to my body, but have typically been too stubborn to take it easy when I know I really should. I think going forward itíll be easier to do so when I can see the cold hard facts on my wrist.

I learn more and more about the Polar RCX5 every day that I use it, and it is way more customizable than I originally thought. The training views can be edited on the web portal, which is great because at first I didnít like any of the original five it was loaded with. The feature Robin discussed below was also a great discovery. Not only does the watch switch views to show me my heart rate when I hold it close to the heart rate monitor, but it also uses the clock (yes, in addition to everything else, this thing does actually tell time) to know that itís probably dark outside and should turn on the indigo. Very cool.

300shoes.jpgLastly, the shoes I will be racing in arrived this week. I find itís always helpful to let them know whatís in store.

10 days to Boston.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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