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September 20, 2014

Make it to Your Taper Ready to Enjoy the Rest

Written by Dena Evans

top_of_hill_croppedMany of our runcoach trainees are in the middle of heavy training for their fall goal races.  As some of the most challenging weeks of the year, this period can often seem like one step after another beyond the comfort zone.  Experienced runners will recognize this as a normal part of the training cycle, but if experience is not yet on your side, here are a few tips for making it through the heavy load to the restful period of the taper.

 

Your full body of training is preparing you – not just the long runs

It is easy to get very caught up with your weekend long efforts, and if one goes poorly or has to be skipped due to an unforeseen circumstance, it can be scary to be even a bit off track.  Don’t forget that the efforts you make throughout the week – harder ones as well as the key recovery days, are building a tapestry that provides your safety net.  One snag doesn’t mean disaster, and staying confident despite a setback can be good practice in case your race plan doesn’t go absolutely smoothly on the day either.

 

It’s ok to “look down”

Heights can be scary, unless you are standing on a firm foundation.  Your many weeks of work have stacked up, and now you are attempting very challenging tasks.  The good news is, you are prepared!  Don’t be afraid to look back at your training log to see where you’ve come from when you started.  Be encouraged that if you have been able to ascend so far and are doing ok, you will be ok to keep it up just a few more weeks.

 

Plan for dessert

If your challenge is staying motivated as the training has become more difficult, consider planning something fun to look forward to at the end of your goal race.  The planning and anticipation can be a bit of a healthy distraction to keep your mind off the hard parts to come and to keep the goal race day and its aftermath as a red letter day to look forward to rather than be fearful of.

 

“I can’t” is almost always just down the block from “I will”

Oftentimes the hardest part of a training cycle or race is closer to the end than the beginning.  You are a bit tired and have been stretched, maybe mentally and physically.  You might be wondering if you have what it takes to go all the way.  These thoughts are completely common, but experienced racers know that often the time between these thoughts and the time when the finish line feels absolutely within reach are almost always pretty close together.  If you have been training for 12 weeks and you only have four to go, consider that 2-3 of those weeks will have a decreased demand as you taper and doing the math, you only have about one week of tough stuff to endure.  If you have made it through 12 weeks, the fact is that you can definitely make it through one more.   Take one day at a time and look forward to the moment when you can sniff the finish and you can rejoice in getting through the forest of heavy training.  You’ll deserve some congratulations not only for the training itself, but staying calm and confident despite the occasional storm.  Savor the feeling!

 

 

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