Thursday, September 01, 2011

Now Entering: The Taper

This week I entered maybe one of the hardest parts of the marathon training schedule... the taper.

If you aren't familiar with the taper... It's the routine of a couple of weeks before a big race (in my case, a marathon), a runner begins to intentionally cut back mileage and intensity in training in preparation for a race.  This gives my body some time to heal from the rigors of training.  It also gives me a chance to build up some extra energy reserves that I'll need for the big race (Sept 17th).

So this week... I started the taper.  I have two runs in (a 6 miler and a 5 miler... I had to skip this morning 5 miler due to some severe weather... but I'll pick it up over the weekend).  While it seems like it would be easier... less mileage... less stress... less effort... it's really not.

Most of it is mental.

For the past 14 weeks I've been pushing hard.  I've been pushing my body and my mind hard... longer distances... faster paces... more mileage... I've conditioned myself to run and train hard.

Now for the next 3 weeks, I'm cutting back... running less... running less hard.  Still running... just running less.  But my body wants to run more.  For instance, on Monday, I was scheduled to run 6 miles.  As I powered through mile 5, I thought, "I could easily run 10 or 12 today."  The weather was perfect.  I felt good and strong.  But I had to remind myself... "Slow down.  We're tapering. Remember?" 

So... for the next three weeks, while my body is saying "Yes!!"  My mind will have to say, "No!" so I can say "Yes!" on race day!  Bring on September 17th!


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