May 9, 2014

Jim Silva: Ready to enjoy ‘taper’ mode as marathon draws near

I’m excited to finally be in “taper” mode, where I reduce the mileage and intensity of my workouts to begin preparing for the marathon.

There was a point during a recent training run where I thought to myself, “How am I going to finish the marathon when I can barely finish this 14-mile run?”

Of course, there were many factors to my struggles. One, I wasn’t feeling all that great because of allergies. Two, I hadn’t been sleeping well. And three, marathon training takes a lot out of you.

That’s why today, I’m excited to finally be in “taper” mode, where I reduce the mileage and intensity of my workouts to begin preparing for the marathon.

Most of my marathon training has been about building up my strength and endurance. These final few weeks are about maintaining that fitness level but reducing the wear and tear on my body. Finding that balance is key to properly tapering down my training.

If I reduce my efforts too much, I won’t peak for the marathon. Overtrain, and I won’t be rested enough for the 26.2 miles. The last thing I want to do is go into the marathon with tired legs or an injury.

And I certainly don’t want to go into the marathon with any negative thoughts. I have to be confident, upbeat and looking forward to doing it. I can’t be dreading it.

I also don’t want to build up the marathon to more than it should be. Two years ago, when I was training for my first marathon, everything I did was looking forward to race day. I think I was too amped up, too excited and too emotional for my first marathon.

During every training run, I would think about race day and push myself hard. I pushed myself too hard. I skipped rest days and extended workouts when I was feeling good. I was paranoid about what I ate and any little muscle ache … worried that I was injured.

This time, I’ve tried to focus more on every day, every training run and just be in the moment. Enjoy the run. Enjoy the rest day. Rather than being totally focused on the marathon, I’ve learned to take things a day at a time. That helps make every training day enjoyable, whether it’s a struggle or not.

The marathon will be here soon enough. For now, I’m excited about tomorrow’s run.

Modesto Memorial Classic

If you’re a beginning runner or walker looking for a race, or a grizzled veteran looking for a personal record, consider the Modesto Memorial Classic on May 24. The event features 1-mile and 5K courses on a flat, shady and paved path along the Tuolumne River. The kids fun run is free (under 10 years old). Also, there will be prize money to the top three men’s and women’s runners in the 5K event.

Your entrance fee includes a pancake breakfast.

And best of all, the event benefits Modesto Vet Center, which helps returning combat veterans and their families, and other local charities.

For more information on the race, visit the ShadowChase Running Club’s website at

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