Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Body v. Mind ... Not On The Same Page!

Tapering ...
My body ... "Ah, thank you kind sir ... the ol' left wheel was starting to wobble a little!
Great time for a break!"

My mind ... "What the heck man!!! 
Just when we were gettin' good you pull over to the side of the friggin' road???"

Okay, I promise not to whine about tapering during this post!  I think my friend Jason at Cook Train Eat Race put it best when he commented, "Tapering for Boston....that just sounds awesome even if it is hard to do. Think about what you are doing and just know that it is incredible."  Thanks Jason!  Great advice to be sure!  And to tell you the truth, even though it's a tricky process - the bottom line is I'm only 6 days away from standing at the starting line at Hopkinton! Yeah baby!

But in my further over-analyzation of the already beaten dead horse - I do find one particular point of interest in the "Taper Zone"... 
While my body was actually begging for a slow-down,
my mind is really confused about the whole process!

Boston will be my 10th marathon.  And with each taper period, it seems I learn something new, and make a few more changes.  I took a full two week taper for this marathon ... something I typically don't do, but to tell you the truth, my knee and ankle were pretty beat up and welcomed the rest.  But what to do with my racing mind?  Even though it's been proven time and time again that a good, well performed taper allows your body to recover and prepare itself for a race - I read very little about it being a recovery period for your mind.  The main thing I struggle with is SELF DOUBT!

As many of you know, I'm a diligent trainer and keep detailed records of the process for future reference.  Based on my training this time, I honestly thought I had a PR in the bag.  But the same thing happens every time I taper for this long ... questions about my performance slowly creep in.  Call it over-confidence, or lack of the same ... either way, I am now doubting whether or not I will run this race at the time I had planned.  But the truth is ... I'm 100% okay with that!  If it happens it happens!  I mean, they don't hand out Laurel Wreaths for the PR I would be setting anyway.  But it is so interesting to me what a difference a few days make.

A few weeks ago I ran a 21 miler and got faster and faster on the last 6 miles.  If it would have been the marathon, I could have slowed down 30 seconds per mile on the last five and still set a 5 minute PR.  I was on top of the world and never felt stronger!  There is no reason to believe I have lost any fitness.  I've also lost the 5 pounds I was shooting for.  And my body should be more rested than it has been in 3 months.  So why the doubt now about repeating that performance?

I think for me it's because I've had a few marathon disasters before.  The Austin Marathon was the first marathon I did not walk at all in a race.  Ever!!!  After 9 marathons, I'm just now figuring out how to run them!  So I know that's one of the main things weighing on my mind.  Also, it seems I've always been a "What have you done for me lately" athlete.  I seem to have short term memory loss when it comes to competing.  Now, this can be good and bad.  But it's like my mind doesn't remember that my body is perfectly capable of running my fastest marathon ever at Boston.

Whatever the case, the taper period always seems to rest my body - but over activate my mind!  But only a few more days and we'll be taking that plane ride to the East Coast!  And I can't wait!  So bring it on baby!  Even though my mind is playing tricks on what my body can and can't do ... I wouldn't change a thing!

Bring back Pia ... Seacrest out!
... be great today!


  1. Tapering for any race is very difficult and the mind is always the culprit. I think you are well trained and ready to go. So relax and enjoy the time off. I know easier said than done!

  2. Good luck getting past this mental challenge - you'll do great in Boston!

  3. Awww the final days before Boston! Bear with me as I sniffle a bit and wipe a tear. It's such a special, special race and I have so many fond memories. All I can say is don't let yourself overthink it. Soak it up and enjoy.
    I thought my first performance there was horrific at the time but looking back I say 'damn, that was pretty darn good.
    Cherish the entire process and know that I'm out there in spirit with you this year! : )

  4. I think doubt is part of tapering. You will do great. Remember that run you had a few weeks ago and literally run with it! Enjoy your trip east.

  5. Enjoy the rest for your body. You're completely prepared and I bet your body will immediately pick up where it left off and you'll get that PR! Can't wait to hear how it goes!

  6. Ahhh, taper madness. I get it even when I don't taper! :) Before a race, my mind always tries to convince me that I'm completely unprepared, but thankfully, all that training has taught my body exactly what to do when the time comes.
    Your mind and body are completely prepared for Boston, there is no doubt that you will be GREAT in six days!

  7. That is normal to have all those thoughts. You have been training so hard. You are going to totally Rock in BOSTON.

  8. You earned your spot in Boston. Enjoy this time leading up to it and more importantly enjoy your time there! :o)

  9. I hate the mental game of running... I always feel unprepared no matter how I train..

    You are so ready to run your best Marathon and you will do it in BOSTON!!!

    Good Luck and I cant wait to read all about it.

  10. It's funny how different runners are from the typical person. For a runner, resting is mentally challenging.

    I would take it as a sign you're doing something right.

    Good luck!

  11. Ohhh Jim! You're right on with the mind and body thing! The funny part is that in reading what you said, you're really self aware so it's kinda like you're combating the self-doubt with an awareness of it. I took psychology in college. Can you tell? Actually I didn't. BUT, I like you're thinking!

    I enjoy reading blogs like this because I have that same thing that Kara Goucher has, did you read about it almost a year ago in Runners World? She's afraid that she won't be able to run even a mile until the gun goes off, it's some sort of fear! I'm less than 3 weeks off from a Half and I've been off for almost 7 weeks because of IT yet somehow I feel like maybe I could PR. Really. Now, with that said, I'm mortified that I'm setting myself up to fail. This is typical me.

    I can't wait to read a Boston report! I bet you're gonna do really well!!

    Pia, gone but not forgotten :)

  12. You'll be fine! You've got your PR in the bag already! haha

    And yes, don't know how Pia got voted off last week, I thought she was among the top 3 contestants in my opinion! (James Durbin, Hailey Reinhart)

  13. I'm not experiencing any taper madness...that's because I did not taper :-D. I have ALWAYS wanted to try NOT tapering so we'll see how it goes. This will be my 21st marathon so i figured it's a good time to try it. I'm not expecting a fast race, hopefully somewhere around 3:40, but i'm curious to see if I feel stronger or any different that previous races. It could backfire too, only time will tell. hehe. Best of luck to you! You'll be here SO SOON!! :-)

  14. Taper tantrums... I get them too. Repeat after me... I am stronger than I realize and will have a great race on Monday.

  15. Hey bee murderer...


    Self doubt?! No. Freaking. Way.

    You will "be great" today & 4/18.

  16. Figures I am heading to KC this week and you are heading to Boston.

    Leaving this evening for a 6 hr ride to Wichita and then Friday going the final 3 hours to KC. Going to a presentation there.

    Keep up the great work and Boston is yours to own.

  17. PR are Boston would be awesome. I'm just going to enjoy it!

  18. You have trained hard! You will do great.


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