Lessons from a Peaceful Taper

No – I promise it is not an oxymoron!!

I’ve been training for this marathon that is coming up in 3 days for >4 months. I worked very hard to get to this point and was looking forward to some time off of my legs! Historically, once a few days into the taper, I start thinking I’m lazy, gaining weight, and need to run. This time has been different. (Yay!) Tapering is a wonderful thing – our legs get the chance to recover fully before race day! AND (maybe more importantly) we tap off the mental strength that we will need to draw from that day as well.

1. Stop thinking about running, or you’ll drive yourself insane. This usually only starts an endless cycle of “should have..” self talk that is not actually productive. Just turn it off. Ignore it. Yep, that’s what I said!

2. In order to accomplish #1, you must realize running is not everything.

3. Have another interest/hobby that you probably haven’t been doing since you’ve been training. Choose a non-physical one. Mine include reading and painting.

4. Pre-race anxiety is normal, natural, and an indicator that you’re alive, so instead of cursing it, ENJOY it. We should embrace the butterfly-tummy feeling instead of fighting it. We only get it once in a season, and it is very short-lived compared to the time we spent getting there.

5. Sleep. I had a friend and seasoned runner coach that I look up to tell it to me perfectly the other day – sleep is the best legal drug I can take. This has always been a stumbling block for me – I am the type of person that would love to find out a way to not have to sleep at all, so I can live life more and simply do more, haha! However, sleep is when our bodies are recovering and repairing themselves, so if we want to perform at our best on race day, we should give ourselves as much sleep as possible. I’ve been getting 8-9 hours a night.

6. Pack before I need to. It’s Thursday. We leave Saturday morning. I am beginning my packing process today, so that I am not rushed and don’t forget anything. In the past, I’ve had a terrible tendency to be rushing around at the last moment .. and that’s not peaceful. If you have the time, use it, enjoy it, pack early. Plan everything – what you will wear, what you will eat, etc. You could even write it down (which I do) so that you literally don’t have to think about it at all. I keep my lists electronically/online so that I don’t lose them and can’t lose them 🙂

7. Trust the training you’ve put in. I have to dig deeper for this and say that during this taper, my mentality has gotten stronger in the fact that God made us (people/humans) and we do some pretty amazing things because of that. I’ve done my part – I’ve been diligent, I’ve been determined and stuck to my training, and now am sticking to my tapering. There comes a point where we have to trust all that we have put forth and trust the God that created us that race day s going to be awesome. Romans 8:31

8. Figure out your mental choking points. I was listening to an audio book the other day by Guy Kawasaki. He was talking about starting a business, but the question burned in my mind and I had to answer it according to my upcoming race: What if you choke? What do I mean by this? Well, what happens if at mile 17 you feel terrible? What if something unexpected happens and you have to walk? I’m not trying to be negative, I am just drawing light on the fact that you should have a mental game plan or else when something does happen, you won’t know what to do, and panic or give in to it. For me personally, I had to redefine what success in my race meant for me. I had a friend who ran a marathon last weekend expecting to PR, and his legs cramped up and he had what sounded like a terrible time — at least, that’s what I read between the lines of his Facebook status. But what he actually talked about in his status was how he pushed through the leg cramps and still finished his race – no PR, but he was a success. It took me a while to wrap my brain around this one, as you may have read in another one of my posts, but when I read his status recap of his race, it made perfect sense.

I have so much more to share, but I will save it for the post-race ramblings .. 🙂
Have a wonderful rest of your week, and weekend my friends!
♥ Aubrey


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