Updated: Apr 22, 2019
Tapering is always a funny thing. Throughout the entire training block, you look forward to those final two weeks before a big race. But then you spend them in a state of panic.
Have I don enough? Have I done too much? Can I really hold that pace for X distance? Why is there suddenly a stabbing pain in my achilles? Is my nose running? Should I eat two pots of rice pudding or three?
Despite the fact I have run six marathons and two ultras and therefore should know what to expect during taper, it still seems to hit me for six every time.
So how am I dealing with it differently this time?
1. Trust in myself - I have put in the hard yards
There is nothing more I can do right now than simply give it my all on race day. Sure, during training some of my sessions didn't go as well as others but I never gave up. Those sessions will come in handy on race day when I enter the pain cave. I can do this.
2. Focus on what I can control, not what I can't
Even if you have a perfect training block, there are things that can go wrong on race day. I am not allowing myself to fret about the things I can't control - weather, competitors etc. I'm focusing on getting enough sleep; running a smart race; nailing my nutrition and running happy.
3. Realise that no one cares as much about your result as you do.
Yes, I have a target time and/or place that I want to achieve. And no, I am not letting anyone down if I don't hit it. Many people put alot of pressure on themselves to perform - I know I do. If I don't hit that certain time, I feel like I am not living up to expectations and often feel embarrassed.
But I have come to realise my friends and family care more about me having fun than they do about getting a PB. They didn't care I ran a 3:15:55 marathon at Gold Coast (vs my target of sub 3:10). In fact, if you asked them now, they wouldn't have a bloody clue what time I ran.
4. Don't define your destiny before it happens
Yesterday I asked my coach what time I should target. He refused to give me one and directed me to his great blog post about why time goals are crap. I coincidentally followed this up by listening to a Trail Runner Nation podcast on what defines our limits.
Essentially putting time goals in place can sabotage your ability to perform at your best; ring fences or limits your ability and decreased your overall enjoyment.
For example, let's say you are aiming to get to Eurobin at the 2 hour mark. If you get there in 2:05, you will be disappointed plus you will likely start questioning your fitness and/or ability, which then causes you to fall further and further behind your target. If you threw this out the window and just ran, you might find you can make it to Eurobin in 1:55.
So what am I targeting for Buffalo? I want to run my best race - meaning I want to run it smart for the first 30km and empty the tank in the final 12km.
5. Calm the F down
Seriously it's just a race, it isn't brain surgery.