Contributed by Jeff Henderson - MIT Head Coach
You head out the door on a cool, overcast day with the slightest inkling of a brisk wind. A distant feeling of accomplishment begins to seep in. You are confident that the longest days of training are behind you now. Suddenly there may be a snap in your legs that wasn’t there three weeks ago. You begin to theorize that the temperature swing has suddenly made your workouts fly by almost effortlessly in comparison to the early days of you training. You have transitioned from a thought along the lines of “holy cow, what have I gotten myself into?” to “Let’s do this!”
Your destiny awaits, yet the journey is not yet complete. Your mind & body are psyched that race day is creeping up! Your body knows that the longest days are behind you. The truth is that you ARE ready. You have completed the trial of miles. Now is the time the reap the rewards of all your miles of trials.
Soon enough it will be taper time. Tapering does NOT mean you are done! This is absolutely the most important period of your training. Staying mentally sharp is crucial. Your destiny will only be fulfilled if you take advantage of the recovery days ahead.
Intensity and duration of your workouts will begin to fall off. As it does, pay keen attention to your body. You very likely may feel achy or fatigued. If so, cut your workout short or take an additional day of rest. As they say, “the hay is in the barn.” You’ve logged the miles. You have strengthened you body through the repetitive stress, recover, adapt. Now is the last phase. Recover, adapt, race like it’s nobody’s business!
The itch to get out and test your boundaries will grind at you. Do not allow yourself to fall victim to the trap. Trust your training. Know that you have done everything possible to prepare yourself for race day. Continue your weekly and daily routines. You have taught yourself to follow a particular routine, stay true to that routine.
If you stretch regularly, continue. If you don’t, do not start now.
Are you planning to race in new shoes? Now is the time to pick them up. Get about 50 miles on them and save them for race day.
Pick out your race day outfit. Wear it for a brief workout to make sure it won’t bother you during your race.
Clip your toenails!
Begin planning for race day morning!
Trust your training!
You are ready!
Let’s do this!
Print it out a copy of the next 3 weeks of your training. Write your race day goal on it. (i.e. PR, Finish! Stick with so and so) Put it on your mirror. Put it on your dashboard. Put it anywhere you will see it and see it frequently. Stay focused on the journey and your destiny is your to be had!