"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tapered Thoughts

Tapering sucks. I feel like it's making me weak. Was three weeks of tapering too long? Why am I sore in new places? A goal of 3:30, really? Should my longest run have been longer than 21 miles? Shouldn't a 3-mile run be a breeze? Why do my legs feel heavy. And why do I have a stomach cramp after a mile? Food -- ehh. What the heck is wrong with me?!?!?!

That's the last two and a half weeks in a nutshell. Maybe not quite that dramatic. But all of those thoughts have crossed my mind at one time or another.

If you're looking for tapering suggestions, just google any combination of the words "marathon," "taper," "tips" and "traps" and you'll find all that you're looking for. I won't rehash them all here. Instead, here are a few tapering experiences of the last few weeks:

1. Weight Gain. Not a huge deal, but I've added a little bit. Two or three pounds. Not a lot, I know, but for someone who could barter for measures of flour or sugar based on my normal weight, any fluctuation catches my attention. I'm not concerned about this though. We know that high-carb foods (bananas, pasta) stock and restock our glycogen stores. Water is stored with glycogen. Less running = less glycogen being used = less water being lost. Pretty simple idea. No worries about it come race day.

2. Goal Time. An 8 minute pace puts me at the finish line in 3 1/2 hours or less. That's my goal. Two things have caused some anxiety in regards to this goal this week. First, it's been almost three weeks since my last long run (21 miles). I felt great that day. But it's been a long time since then. A long time to forget how awesome I felt. Second, I recalibrated my Nike+ sensor at the high school track the other day. Every mile was off by 5% (1 "true" mile (4 laps) registered as 1.05 miles). So...... have my training runs all been off by 5%? Maybe. Maybe not. The Nike+ sensor isn't perfect (nor is their site). But it was enough to cause some generate some doubt for a day or two.

3. "Phantom" Pains. Dumb things. My toe hurt one day. My right knee hurt another day. A shin splint last week. Nothing too serious, but enough to make me plead with my body not to break down now. I realize that this a combination of my body repairing itself after 18 increasingly intense weeks in a row and me having too much time to think about running (and less time spent actually doing it).

I take comfort in the fact that all of these things are mental, and not physical. Physically, I'm ready to go. Mentally, I'm getting there. I don't want to get into race mode too early, as this will cause my mind to be tired by the time the gun goes off, but by Friday afternoon I'll be locked in and ready to go.

I'll have a post up tomorrow afternoon about my goals, race strategy and other preparations and then a final post Friday morning with some final thoughts, and then I'm off to Newport with my family.

It's almost here. I'll be ready.

1 comment:

P4 said...

All of those same thoughts, feelings and experiences happened to me on a smaller scale when training for my half. I'll give you the same words of wisdom you gave me. Trust your training. You are ready for this. Good luck and enjoy it. You will never have a first Marathon again.