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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > Jan-17 > TAPER TIME


The Project Trail team begin the countdown to the Wendover 50. Are they prepared or petrified?

Months of training and over a thousand collective miles are behind them. But for Dan, Jon and Nic, the hard work is far from over. For many runners, the final weeks of training can prove to be the hardest; growing used to a certain amount of miles can make the simple act of resting more challenging than the running itself. So how are the Project Trailers planning to tackle their respective tapers – and how ready are they for the race itself?

You’re entering the final few weeks of training; are you happy with the progress you’ve made up to this point?

My overall fitness feels pretty good. My assessment runs, recovery rates and heart-rate monitoring all suggest good progress has been made. If anything is lacking, it is sufficient focus on pure endurance, but l believe the mix of cross-training and miles in my legs over a number of years will ensure the distance doesn’t defeat me.

What’s been the toughest aspect of the training?

The toughest aspect has been ensuring enough focus on running. I know it sounds crazy with such a big target ahead, but fitting in hockey and cycling, as well as running sessions, has certainly meant some compromise with my training plan. Where possible I’ve tried to swap sessions of a similar type, so for example an interval session could equal a hockey match and a long run could equal a long off-road cycle.

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About Men's Running

We all think we’re giving 100% in races. But watching some elite athletes, their faces contorted in late-race agony, I can’t help but ask myself: how hard am I really trying? In Matt Fitzgerald’s How Bad Do You Want It? – a brilliant book with a toe-curlingly bad title – he writes about our ‘unreachable physical limit’. That’s not to say we are all super-athletes of unlimited potential. Quite the opposite: we are all wimps unwilling to break free from our mind-forged manacles. It is not the body that slows us down, but the brain. The bravest athletes – the Prefontaines, Radcliffes and Brownlees – get closer to their physical limit than most. The rest of us? My guess is that we rarely realise more than 80% of our physical potential. Yet we can, with consistent training and iron-willed determination, walk a little further along those hot coals. Perhaps not as far as Radcliffe or Brownlee, but further than we’ve ever gone before. It’s a theme that David Smyth explores further in the month’s ‘Suffer club’ article on page 60, speaking with some of these athletes about how they’re able to push themselves to their very limits. So next time you find yourself in a race, telling yourself the same old lie that you’re trying your hardest, be brave and ask yourself honestly: can I give more? The answer is, inevitably, yes.