Turning the Impossible into "I'm Possible" – Planning your race day experience for optimum results.
As we enter our second week of taper, we’ll likely find ourselves having more time on our hands-- and (consequently) more time for anxiety to fill the void left by less training… an anxiety which often leads runners to doubt their training (“Have I done enough???”); and shorter runs seem counterintuitive for race day preparation (“I should be running more, not less, as race day approaches!!!”).
This is a good time to review ALL that we have achieved over the last 5 months; and to plan ahead for the next two weeks, from now until we cross the Finish Line! Visualize what awaits us. Prepare for a successful race day experience, knowing that we are getting stronger physically and mentally in preparation for Marathon Day.
Review your training log. Look how far you’ve come! If you have kept notes in your training log (as I hope you have been doing), look back to see the improvement in performance, increases in the distance covered in long runs and your changed perception of your abilities as a result of your training efforts. If you have not kept a training log, review the training schedule and realize how much training you have done to reach this point. Think back to the early part of training when a 6- or 7-mile-long run seemed like a ‘long run’ and this past weekend, most said ‘It’s ONLY 12 miles’. Note the paradigm shift.
Our perspectives HAVE changed; so has our fitness level. In June, at the start of training, 26.2 miles seemed like a long way to go, it may even have seemed impossible to run that far at all, or, for experienced marathoners, impossible to run that distance faster than before. But now, as we have crossed the 20-mile threshold, the marathon distance seems less daunting and more within our reach.
Whether running our first marathon or our 20th, training has prepared us for the distance, and we can prepare mentally as well as physically these last two weeks. During the taper phase, we take the next step, realizing that with all of our training, all the dedication, all the preparation: what seemed Impossible has become Improbable and what seemed Improbable will become the Inevitable! Success is ahead.
Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance – Use the extra time in the taper phase to create a script of how you desire these next two weeks unfold. Prepare a script of all that could possibly go RIGHT for you in accordance with your desires. After writing the script, put it away for a few days. Then retrieve it and review it – item by item. Ask yourself what you will do if the script does not evolve as written. This is a positive exercise, for we will not panic or have our positive energy disrupted if we have a ‘back-up’ plan on how to adjust to each circumstance. Transportation, weather, crowds – all of these circumstances can be overcome when we think of our options in advance of race day. Planning ahead and being flexible will result in optimum performance on Marathon Day.
Proper planning also entails a race day strategy. Think back on your racing and running career. What type of runner are you? Generally, we fall into one of three categories: (i) even split runner--whose pace per mile is consistent throughout the race or training run; (ii) negative split runner--who runs the second half faster than the first half of the race; or (iii) the positive split runner--who will run fast from the start and tries hanging on in the later miles of the race.
When have you had the best results? Use this knowledge to plan strategy on Marathon Day. Plan your pace and what time you should reach Mile 5, Mile 10, Mile 15, Mile 20 and the finish!
Visualize your success on race day!
“Good form will carry you through”®