Speaking about the power of the mind - it's time to exercise mine a little during taper madness. This will be my third time doing 26.2. The first time was pure hell. The only thing that I was sure about was that I needed to do another to get the monkey off my back. The second time was better, but there was still a lot of experimenting going on right up to the start line (and maybe even beyond). I know I could have benefited from more planning. Anticipating what could go wrong before the race will leave you more prepared to deal with catastrophes during the race. Anyone who has been there knows what I mean. So, what I thought I would do here for the next couple of weeks is, with the help of yesterday's article and my own experience, show you how I am dealing with taper madness.
As we wind down the miles in week 1 of taper, there are a number of things we can do to get mentally ready:
- Weather - It's time to start watching the weather. March weather can be such a crap shoot here in L.A. Average temperature is 70. Record for March 21 is 93. Rainy season won't quite be over. Um yeah. The start time is late (7:30 AM), and by the time my wave hits the start line, it's likely to be 7:45 or 8:00 AM. This means that I will be finishing around 12:30 to 1:00 in the afternoon. The last thing I want to do is be overdressed at the start and suffer later on as the sun comes out and the course heats up.
- Goal pace: I'm going to start practicing running at goal pace if I'm not doing a tempo run. I need to run by feel. Right now I don't know that feel. Starting Sunday, if I'm too fast, I *will* slow down. No reason to be setting practice records at this point. It's always too easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and to go out way too fast. Believe me (experience speaking here) - it will come and grab you in the butt later on.
- Clothing and gear: The carnal sin on race day is to be doing the race in something new. This weekend's long run will be done in the same shorts, shirt and socks that I used for Long Beach - not because I'm superstitious, but because I need to check them out to make sure that nothing has changed (either my body or the clothing) that is going to result in chafing. Believe me - I will be in enough pain. Chafing is the last thing I need.
- Shoes: This is also the time to take stock of my shoes. My race day shoes currently have 271 miles on them. I have 95 miles left on the plan (including race day). I alternate shoes during training, which means I'll have around 320 miles on my race day pair. I typically put about 400 miles on shoes, so I should be safe.
So there you go. Enough to keep me busy for a couple days. On the schedule today - hill repeats. Six of them. Hey! Aren't I supposed to be tapering?