After months of training and many miles of running, it almost time for the Yorkshire Marathon. Hopefully, this time next week we’ll be laying with our legs up the wall and, despite the tricky angle, sipping champagne. Bendy straws exist for a reason.
It’s tapering time, when our schedules say we should run less, eat more (of the right things, of course) and sleep plenty. Now, we’re very partial to some healthy R+R but I’ll be honest with you, I find tapering difficult. Obviously, it’s not physically demanding but I find the psychological shift from ‘I will run all the time to meet this distant goal’ to ‘I will lay on the sofa and eat risotto until Sunday’ pretty challenging.
I have three major problems with tapering and, with luck, three easy solutions.
It’s very easy for paranoia about your health to set in. Tapering gives you extra time to reflect and suddenly you feel like your finely-tuned, marathon-ready body is a delicate instrument that could fall apart at any moment. In the past week I’ve had two colds, a dodgy ankly, an iffy knee, a stomach bug and a daily migraine. I’ve had none of these things, of course, but every day there’s a new niggle that I’m convinced will scupper all my hard work.
My solution to this is to think about how healthy I actually am at this point. Over the past few months, I’ve stuck to my marathon training plan, eaten the right things, drank very little alcohol (much to the delight of my liver and my bank balance) and generally done everything to get myself into the best shape possible. Right now, I’m as fit and healthy as I can be for the task in hand. It won’t be easy but I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.
Stressing about race day
There’s a lot to sort out for a big race and it’s logical to worry about being prepared. Everyone frets. My list of worries includes race numbers, safety pins, parking, what gear to run in, do I have an old sweater to throw away, where did I put the letters to put our names on our running vests, will we raise enough money, what to change into afterwards, what snacks should we have ready for when it’s all over, will I get enough sleep, what should we eat for dinner the night before and the night before that, do I have enough gels, do I even want gels, will my race photos be as horrible as ever? etc etc. This is by no means an exhaustive list, btw. I have plenty more little frets buzzing around in my head.
There’s an easy solution to this – chill out. It might be a big race but it’s just a race after all and I have plenty of those under my belt. I’ll be writing a list (a long one, apparently!) then putting those worries to one side. I’ll do my best to follow the list but it really doesn’t matter if I miss anything. I know from experience that it will be fine. The months of training are the important thing – one night’s lack of sleep or the need to borrow a few safety pins won’t blow the whole experience.
Blowing it out of proportion
When you’re training, this goal that has been looming for so long starts to seem like an enormous, insurmountable task. It isn’t, though. It will be a big day – perhaps one of the most memorable of your life – but the hard work will be over within a few hours. They may feel like long and gruelling hours but it will all be over by teatime (or hopefully considerably before!)*
The solution here is to keep it in perspective. Like everyone training for a marathon, I’ve ran many more than 26.2 miles – not all at once recently, perhaps, but I’ve done that distance and more on a weekly basis for months now. Instead of seeing this as something to dread, I’m going to see it as something to cherish. I’m going to run a marathon side by side with my lovely Bibi, and all for a wonderful cause. How cool is that?!
All being well, we’ll be putting those bendy straws to good use this time next week, whilst sending out love and good vibes to everyone who’s supported us on this journey. Please click on the link below to sponsor us – we’re running for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal cancer charity. Every little helps. Thank you 🙂
*Here’s the post from my janeydodge.com blog about how I learned to put stressful things into perspective, with a bonus video of me at Bettakultcha explaining how Star Wars is a perfectly crafted Mills and Boon story. Yes, really.
Many thanks to Up and Running for our running gear in the photo – we’re wearing this season’s Sub4, Mizuno and Brookes Pure if you like the look of it.