Time to Trust the Training

This past weekend I ran my second, and final, 20 miler before the marathon in three weeks. And now, it’s time to taper. Or, as I like to call it, three weeks of second-guessing-the-efficacy-of-your-training.

See, at this point, you’ve done all you can do to improve your fitness level. You aren’t going to get faster, increase your aerobic capacity or improve your form. In fact, research has shown that a well-executed taper period will improve performance by three percent, while continuing to train hard right up to the race will cause your performance to suffer.

Three percent might not sound like much, but it could mean a five to ten minute difference in a marathon finish time.

That’s a big deal.

During the taper period, you’re still running, just not the same distances or at the same speed. In the last two weeks you aren’t doing any strength training, anything that will break down muscle tissue, deplete glycogen stores, compromise your immune system.

Sounds reasonable.

But with that race dace quickly approaching, and all this extra time and energy not being used by running, the questions start to float through your mind. And of course, by you, I mean me.

Did I train hard enough?

Did I train effectively enough?

Am I really ready?

Can I do this?

With this race, I have a pretty specific goal, that I made very public. And then it took on even more meaning. So while I have had these questions before each of my past races, they seem extra important (and tricky) this time.

The good news is, that I can look at my training plan and see that every single session for the last 14 weeks has been checked off. Some were altered a bit, a 10k race instead of a tempo run. Hill repeats instead of speed intervals. I have run over 350 miles during this time. I have completed hours of cross-training through spin class, yoga, bike rides, fast walks, dancing, yard work, weightlifting. I’ve done hundreds of squats and push-ups and crunches and curls.  I have earned over $30 on Gympact*.

This training plan I’ve been following is the same one I used for a PR and Boston Qualifying time at last October’s Portland Marathon. Only the paces have been adjusted for my new goal time.

So, in theory, I’ve done all the right things to prepare for this race. Truly, the best thing I can do is follow the taper part of the program. And trust.

Trust the plan.

Trust myself.

Trust that everything’s going to be just fine.

This might be harder than the actual training.


* Gympact has been surprising motivating for me. If you have a smartphone, you can use it to earn money for working out (or pay if you don’t). Use my refer-a-friend code (mesomShann) to get a $5 bonus when you sign up.


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