Tapering for a race can sometimes be harder than the actual race. These 5 suggestions help carry you through the last few weeks leading up to your race. Just remember – you’re not alone!
- Let it be – Tapering can bring on all the emotions. Excitement, anxiety, irritability, and everything in between. Get ready to embrace it all and just let it be. Instead of fighting all this and thinking there’s a way you should feel and should be, just remind yourself this is all part of the process. If you’re like me, when someone tells me to “just relax!” or “try to get more sleep” I end up doing the exact opposite because it feels like pressure. Instead of forcing yourself to feel a certain way during taper, just let it be, observe your emotions, warn to your friends and partner in advance that you might be cranky, and just embrace this inevitable part of the process.
- Revisit your strongest workouts – Hone in on a couple of workouts from your training cycle where you felt powerful. Channel those workouts and visualize feeling like that during your race. How did it feel to be out there running strong? Where did your thoughts go? How did you stay positive? Bring back these workouts to channel your confidence and remind yourself that if you can nail workouts, you’re more than ready to take on the race.
- Embrace the bad ones – Most likely you had some bad workouts, and instead of letting those get you down or trying to brush them under the rug, embrace those as part of the process. You succeed because of challenges, not in spite of them. If you think about it, in movies, we expect conflict as part of the story, but in life – or racing – we often want the path to go perfectly. But just like in a good movie where the obstacle makes the story interesting and the conclusion more rewarding, we should expect the same in racing. The workouts we bombed or the week we took off with injury is all part of the story that gets you to your epic race. So embrace your racing storyline – bad moments and all.
- Don’t try anything new – Taper can bring on feelings of needing to do something differently to get ready, but refrain. If you’re feeling like you need to move more because you’re running less, go for a casual stroll and remind yourself that running less and relaxing more is part of your training. But the last thing you should do is squeeze in an extra hard workout because you’re feeling antsy. Definitely don’t take up rock climbing or horse back riding three weeks before your race. Maybe taking up a new hobby can be a reward after the race! If you feel sluggish, that’s normal, and you might not feel “ready” until your shakeout run the day before. Hang in there! In general, keep your routines the same and don’t intentionally introduce your body and lifestyle to any changes. However, if something unexpected happens, just remind yourself you’re tough and built to roll with the punches.
- Plan out your ideal race, but be ready to adapt – Write out and visualize your ideal race. From start to finish, visualize yourself feeling powerful, hitting paces, thinking positively and running your best race. Also, visualize yourself being adaptable and prepared to take on any situation. If you can prepare yourself with a sense of planned adaptability, you will be ready for anything race morning and equipped to have a strong race.
Embrace the taper weeks and your starting line will be here and ready for you to crush before you know it!
Embrace the Taper Crazies,