I’m in the final two weeks of my marathon training, and as marathon training plans suggest, I have been tapering, meaning, I am not running nearly as much as I have been up to this point in my training. A few different things are happening—and they are all mind games of a sort.
- I’m not spending as much time training, so I don’t have as much to do. I’m not really bored, but I can see how some people might feel a little boredom during this point.
- I’ve noticed that I’ve lost the edge to my mental focus. This is something that I’m working on now, even as I write this post.
- A little fear has stepped in as I’ve been tapering. It feels strange not to go all out right up to the point of the event. I keep wondering if with this break in my hard core training if I will “lose” my fitness.
Boredom During Taper Week?
Number one is to be expected. Certainly, as we lessen the amount of time we spend on the playground, we are likely to wonder what to do with our time. My suggestion? Well, it’s something I haven’t done as much as I wanted to do, and that is to work on number two: focus. I could (and now will) spend some time doing visual imagery for the event so I can “see” myself finishing, and finishing strongly. My thought: if you aren’t spending time training your body, then you can use that time to train your mind.
I believe having a marathon mentality means never losing sight of your goal. I’m not suggesting that we obsess over our goal, but if we notice that our focus for finishing is slipping, we need to do what we need to do to keep it from slipping entirely out of sight. If you let it slip out of sight, that’s when you are more likely to face failure, be tempted to quit or give up, or at the very least, you will be more likely to endure a mighty struggle. So with the extra time we have during taper week, I suggest that you, I we spend that time focusing.
Fear During Taper Week?
Number three is something that I’ve never experienced before. In any competition or show I’ve been involved in, whether it was a school play, a recital, an interview or anything else, I practiced hard right up to the bitter end. There was no taking breaks. Taper time is the exact opposite of this. Run less right before the event? Really? Aren’t I likely to forget how to run that much?
Trust the Training
I know that there are mighty good reasons for this, but my mind is having a hard time understanding this. And that’s where “trust the training” is coming into play for me. I have heard this said before, “trust the training,” but I’ve never had to experience it firsthand. My head wants to go out this week and run another 20+ miler just so I know I can do it. But my training plan says NOT to do that. Apparently, my body needs a rest or something before the big event so that I can perform optimally at the event. And so this is what I’m doing. I’m trusting the training.
It Takes a Little Faith
The rest and restoration and energy stores that are supposed to be happening to my body during these two weeks are things that I can’t see. There is not a whole lot I can do, besides eating, drinking and resting properly to aid this process. While I have faith in the power of healthy living to extend our lives and the quality thereof, I’ve never had to have faith in the application of healthy living for a compressed period of time to do what I want it to do. But this is what I’m doing now; I’m stepping out on faith and in trust of what the professionals before me have found that works; and so I am resting. Resting before the race. Resting before the battle. And I’m trusting the training.
I expected that marathon training would take commitment, dedication and a heck of a lot of hard work and effort. I didn’t know it would take faith.
* Images used, licensed via public domain. Found on the Library of Congress Photostream on Flickr