Tapering

It’s been a week since the 20 mile training run. I felt pretty good throughout the week, but working late and bad weather reduced my weekly runs to only one 6 mile route. I felt pretty bad about not getting more runs in, as the marathon is only a couple weeks away. My mind is in overdrive, saying “you need to train” over and over.

I met up with the ICan running group yesterday to go out on the weekly run. Saturday’s run was set for 10-12 miles. Before we started, Coach Loran imparted his words of wisdom: “The hay is in the barn. Nothing you do now will help you prepare for the marathon. You’ve done the training, now is time to stay healthy, stay loose, and rest. Let the body rest.”

This was the opposite of what my brain was trying to tell me, to keep pushing, train harder. Coach Loran explained to me that if you push your body now, you risk injury and you do not give your body enough recovery time. You will not lose muscle memory or the abilities you have gained by resting and taking it easy for a couple of weeks. He pointed to one member who had not run at all that week. She wasn’t worried at all!

We started out and the run was great. Once we started getting into the groove, it seemed as if we could go on forever. All during the run, I thought about coach Loran’s words and tried to get a handle on learning on how to relax.

I guess tapering is as much mental as it is physical. Letting the body relax and heal while telling the brain to take a break as well. It’s ok to take some time to stop pushing the limits your body can take, to keep loose and easy, to stay the course before kicking it into overdrive again for the big event.

I have tapered before, but it was only for a week before my first half marathon. Now, looking back at that time, I should have given my body a little more time to heal. But the brain’s constant pushing to be sure you can run that far, that you’re ready enough, can overpower common sense.

So, I downloaded coach Loran’s training program. If it says 3 miles, I run 3 miles. It’ll seem like I just started by the time I finish, but I need to fight the battle with my brain that is constantly pushing me to keep going.

So, for the next two weeks, I taper down the miles, rest my body, and tell my overexcited brain to take a vacation. I’ll be calling on it come race day.

Live healthy, be happy!

Travis

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