It’s taper time and for a lot of people it’s the most emotionally wrought part of the training cycle.
What if we didn’t do enough, we ask ourselves, maybe we should put in one last hard effort?
One this can set you up for injury but more likely you’re just nurturing fatigue to make sure you have it on race day.
I read a thing last night that said you lose about 10% of your fitness during the taper and yes that’s unnerving, but you gain 20% in performance by not being fatigued.
You want to have a great race and up until now more training was the answer. At 6 weeks out you can go nuts with hard training, fasted work outs, multiple sessions a day, and you feel like you’re putting huge deposits in the fitness bank and it feels great, you feel in control.
Now that it’s time to back off, two weeks from the race, it feels like giving up control. Because it is, because you have to. You can’t control the race and you know it. You tell yourself you can when it’s a far away abstract but up close and personal you know the truth. You are a very small and race day is very big.
Naturally to try and get back to that feeling of control you want to go back to the behaviour that induced it – in this case hard training.
But don’t give in to that urge.
Instead refocus it on mobility work. Take all the free time you have now that you’re not hard-training and finally get in all the foam rolling and yoga and shit you never get around to.
Exercise like a grandma, weird looking corrective exercises with tiny weights and lots of movement with toe taps. Hit the elliptical.
Use that meditation app, go get a massage, do a sauna. Do all the self-care stuff that’s great for running and fills up time so you’re not just sitting there fearful.
If you have running buddies then joke about how nervous you are. If you have a blog then write a post detailing all the things you could do to take your mind off feeling unprepared and frame it as advice for others.
And sometimes – sometimes – give in to the urge to blow off steam with pizza and beer. Don’t try to stay so sane you go crazy.