Adam Culp Endurance Training Marathon Training Running sports psychology training ultra running

Taper mental games begin!

I am 2 weeks away from my next marathon, and in the 2nd week of taper. For me, this is when the mind games begin.

I am 2 weeks away from my next marathon, the 2010 Space Coast Marathon, which means I am in the second week of my taper.  For me, this is when the mind games begin prior to a race.  Did I build enough prior to the taper? Should I really taper 3 weeks, or is 2 sufficient? I have a bunch of energy, how fast should I run during the taper? Should I do a little more speed work this close to the race? What should my pace be for this race? And the questions continue to add up every minute…

So, all of these questions and a little doubt really start to wear us down and try to destroy our upcoming race.  Stress builds by the day, we are super hungry even though we are not burning as many calories, and we start to second guess decisions we made prior to the taper.  What I really need to do is RELAX!!!

OK, now that I have a little more of a grip it is time to put my thoughts into this blog post before they change.  Yes, they will change.  However, I will need to return to this post and read it just to get myself right and return to sanity, or at least less hysterics.

First, we must not let our current “taper madness” cause us to change our plans.  Whatever pace we planned on running prior to the taper is what we should do. Yes, we trained well and stuck to the schedule all the way down to the full 3 week taper which is proven to work.  No, extra speed work at this point is pointless.

Second, stick to the plan.

Third, remember to follow the second point and STICK TO THE PLAN!

Now that I have that out of the way, I am feeling much better. In the second week of my taper I am feeling strong, running like a champ, and looking forward to my first race since the February 50 mile Iron Horse.  It feels so strange to be running 37 miles in the 2nd week of taper, but to put it into perspective I did reach a peak of 63 miles in the week prior to starting the taper.

My goal loosely is to run a 3:30 marathon.  Am I sure I can run that fast for a marathon?  No! But I am going to give it my best.  Ultimately I believe I am physically ready to do it, but it will be a great mental battle to push into uncharted territory for me.  I am so ready!

Anyone else out there running the Space Coast Marathon this year?

2 replies on “Taper mental games begin!”

I know just how you feel. I’m thinking I’m going to be TOTALLY deconditioned by the time I get to the starting line of IM AZ on Sunday. I know its not true, but I want to race NOW!

So… where were we? Oh yes. A marathon is coming up! Very cool! No matter what, stick to the plan! My plan this week and last week was “it doesn’t matter at this point”! Do enough to stay sharp and off we go! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.