Day 207 marked a full week of runs winding down post-world record. It was a week to reflect and enjoy the downswing from a high intensity previous 6.5 months. Here are some thoughts on the "reverse taper" and day 207 as it marks a special day of recovery.
What's a reverse taper? It's a gradual and gentle lowering of mileage to a baseline "upkeep level." For me an upkeep level is around the distance of a 10 mile run. Time wise that's an easy 1.5-2hrs. Keep in mind a reverse taper is a term I made up to describe how I am winding down and recovering from this big block of mileage. It's unlikely this kind of taper would be needed for training for most people as 220 mile weeks with no days off for 6+ months is... unheard of. I think it could be quite useful to other World Record streakers or those doing big miles day after day for months like on the PCT/ AT etc. For anyone else, it's an interesting idea that probably won't be necessary.
I explain more in the following write up that I wrote on day 207 (May 30, 2023):
Day 207 / 7 days after the world record / 10 miles today / 6,556 miles
“I want to get as close to failure as possible, then succeed,” I wrote yesterday in my journal. I love the taste of defeat, how it fires me up. I felt it intimately, I courted it for 6 months.
Today I clocked an easy 10 miles as I continue my reverse taper from 200 ultramarathons in 200 days. The run included a nice jaunt up a mountain. I’m feeling more and that’s weird because I thought I was feeling so much before. My body feels strong. My mind is content. It doesn’t matter what I did yesterday or last month. I feel an urge to move forward.
10 miles is like the blink of an eye, a casual stroll to the mailbox or a light outing with a good friend. in this case the good friend is my easy breathing, ever present Colorado wind now breathing summer air & the tap, tap, tap of my shoes in gravel. Compared to running a 50k, today is a light warm up. It’s important as it maintains my cardio system so it can continue to adapt & feed my body as it levels up from the immense effort of 6400miles in just 200 days— an effort that had me running over 220miles every week with no days off. To run such distance for so long & suddenly stop would be detrimental: my body is carefully honed to endurance. To perform hour after hour.
Extraordinary things only seem extraordinary in hindsight. Day by day they are considered somewhat normal, perhaps weird or different, but it takes time for something to become extraordinary. You don’t see that from the outside. You don’t see the day to day toiling.
Structure is elusive as I reintegrate my extraordinary experience into a daily practice. It’s important to give myself time to reintegrate without too many boundaries or rules, while also to begin to decide how I want to structure my goals.
In 6 months it’s possible to emerge new— in both mind and body. I know it’s true, it happened. If you’re reborn from this wild journey, how do you move forward? You cannot go back.
You must break trail. Following someone else’s trail won’t lead you anywhere new. In this metaphor you can see it’s going to be a lot of hard work. I’m glad because I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you'd like to read about each day in the week following my world record, please go to instagram where I have each day carefully outlined with video and write up: https://www.instagram.com/runcandicerun/