Thursday, 14 March 2013

Taper Tantrums

Well, I've reached the hardest bit of the training cycle.........the taper.

For anyone who hasn't gone through it themselves, it would appear that this is the best time in your running calendar, as you cut back on mileage while trying to make sure that you eat and drink plenty. All the hard work of training has been done, and its time to let the body rest up so that you can arrive at the start line feeling refreshed, eager, and with a spring in your step ready to run your best.

In reality, it's a period when you have time to worry :
Have you done enough?
Have you done too much?
Are your times what they should be?
You don't feel that you're running well, or are you running so well that you're "overdue" an injury?
Will that twist of the trailing foot come and haunt you several miles into the race?
Are your shoes too old and so lack cushioning?
Are they too new and hence aren't fully broken in?
Have you learnt from what went well and what didn't go well last time?
Is that niggle an injury developing?
Is that sniffle heralding the 'flu?

These thoughts go through everyone's fact, you'd probably worry if they didn't......and in my case, I cannot help thinking back to my last big race - the 50k in Italy - and worrying that I'll have a similarly bad experience, but I know that certain circumstances surrounding that race have not been repeated this time.......and so I've managed to learn from the experience.

Glasgow Uni 5

The way I deal with this is to accept that such thoughts are normal and to accept them rather than worry about them, and think about the positives of the training cycle. While reducing the overall quantity of my running, I try to keep the quality there. I actually ran a 5mile PB at the start of my taper, and then threw in a parkrun the next weekend to get some quicker leg turnover. Apart from that, the "taper fortnight" is wonderful for my garden, as I actually have some motivation to dig it over the beds, and I also have much more time and energy to catch up with friends, go to the cinema, eat more cake and so on. Anyone who knows me, knows that eating is something I have never had a problem with, but I do love the "carb loading" excuse (though to be fair, eating the usual amount but running less does probably equate to "carb loading").

Perfect for carb-loading!

As a medic, I guess I'm exposed to more than my fair share of bugs.......but amazingly, I've managed to avoid them all....that is right up until 6 days before the marathon, when I developed the dreaded sore throat and blocked nose. Now it's just a question of time......nothing more I can do training-wise....nothing more I can do health-wise......but what I can do is hope that I have a short-lived cold which won't stop me having a good weekend (with a 26.2 mile run in it)!!

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