Ah the joys of the taper.
When I’m in full time training with the British Rowing Team then once a year we would experience the joys of tapering. When finally, at long last, the solid days of exhausting and apparently endless physical work start to lessen and you begin to feel human again. The taper can be a wonderful thing in two ways. On one hand with less training, less distance, less mileage, your body starts to recover, to feel energetic again and sessions seem easier. In addition to that you get the positive mental boost of feeling good, of feeling human and at some point you begin to feel you can take on the world. It’s a great time for any athlete and you know that the goal is finally in sight. Of course that can also be a slightly daunting time when after months (or years) of preparation the big moment is finally here. But the taper helps to make you feel ready and ultimately it is this big goal that you’ve been putting yourself through all kinds off hell for, so when it’s closing in then you have to remind yourself this is what it’s all about.
For my marathon it’s wonderful thinking that the worst training is now over, the longest miles are under the belt and just the big day awaits. I’ve been pleased to get through without any nasty injuries or blisters (and am hoping they don’t feature in these last days so am touching the wooden desk as I write!) and have been able to do fairly long distances in a slow but steady pace. But why is it that just when you start to feel you are achieving something then someone comes along to show you that much more can be done?? I met a lovely guy last week who was very supportive in talking about the challenges of long distances in running and I was feeling quite proud of my attempt to run 26 miles. Until I asked him what he considered a ‘long run’ to be and he admitted he has done 100 mile races. And in a weekend he might do a marathon distance each day just for training. I was astounded. And impressed. And felt absolutely no need to try that for myself. For now I’ll enjoy the taper and focus on getting just over 26 miles done. Any other challenge can wait to some other time……