Taper and Trust

surftaper“Trust thyself:  every heart vibrates to that iron string.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

I press the stop button on my Garmin and smile.  My longest preparatory run before the Hollywood Half-Marathon is over.  The two week taper officially starts now; a time of mandatory scaling back and taking some rest days, allowing your body to be at it’s best on race day.

I look out at the Pacific Ocean, happy that I made the 30 minute drive down to the beach on a Sunday at 6 am for this last long run.  I walk back to my car to grab a towel and the surfer parked across from me before I started my run sees me.  “Wow, you were gone for a long time, ” he says, “how far did you run?”

“Twelve miles,” I smile back.  I stroll out onto the beach pier and sit on a bench; watching surfers, inhaling the ocean air, feeling blessed.  I rub my hands up and down my arms, grainy from sand and dried sweat.

I think back to less than three years ago after my first 12 mile run.  Any run over 8 miles, I’d be out of commission for the rest of the day. Mommy’s long run day was just that, a long run day with no energy left for anything else.  Now, I feel great.  I know that after a shower and a second breakfast, I’ll be ready to enjoy the rest of the day with the kids; no recovery needed.  What a difference a few years makes.

What am I going to do with the next two weeks.  Tomorrow, I’ll go to yoga; the next day a short run; the next day maybe I could try a new class….no, I can’t do that.  I’m supposed to actually take some rest days.  And you’re not supposed to try any new activities just before your race.  Ok, Body By Simone will have to wait.

The first week of taper is great.  By day 8, I’m questioning myself.  Maybe I should go for one more long run.  Am I really not going to backtrack in these two weeks?  But I know that I’ve repeatedly read, if you’re not ready by two weeks before a race, then you’re not ready.  You can’t cram for a race….just like you can’t cram for a test that covers a semester’s worth of material.  You need to rest to have fresh legs on race day.  You need a fresh mind for your final; not a hyper-caffeinated fried egg brain-on-drugs one trying to function on 3 hours of sleep.

Why is it so hard to rest and trust in the work that you have put in?  Trust in the training you have done, trust your run.

Why is it so hard, to trust in yourself….that is the real question.

You entrust a new nanny with the care of your newborn while you go to work.  You drop your kids off at school; placing trust in the administrators and teachers that they will be kept safe all day.  You trust your husband with your heart, your most vital organ that beats to deliver oxygen to every millimeter of your body.  The day you don’t trust him, is the day you wouldn’t have a relationship anymore.

You trust the new girl in yoga class who you’ve never met before, when she says she is going to catch you and not let you fall and break your neck and become a quadraplegic, while you attempt a handstand again.  You trust that when you get to a 4 way stop sign, the other random drivers that you don’t know at all will stop and go in turn to avoid an accident.  Trust, is a requirement for being able to function in society and in life.

Yet when it comes to the training that you have put into yourself, you are having second thoughts, questioning yourself, and tempted to do another long run.

Or maybe it’s just that you don’t know how to rest.

When you had a Csxn and were told not to drive or lift heavy objects for 6 weeks, you were doing both within a week.  When you lie down to take a nap, you get more stressed than relaxed, mentally scanning your to do list that you could be working on.  You have witnessed so many people not slow down, until their bodies and even worse their minds got sick, necessitating a mandatory period of rest or leave from a doctor.

You have been the prescriber of mandatory rest, and now it’s time to prescribe it for yourself and fill the prescription.  It’s time to give yourself the gift of believing in yourself. taper

About Paria

Runner, mother, pediatrician, blogger

15 comments on “Taper and Trust

  1. First of all I am insanely jealous you get to run by the ocean! Gorgeous! Second, we all question so many things in the taper weeks. A friend of mine said “You have to be courageous enough to trust your training.” And yes, it take a lot of courage! Because I just lived this, I know it’s so hard but come race day, it will all pay off!

  2. It is so hard to trust the taper but from experience (of watching others), I’ve learned how incredibly important it is. I’ve seen people train harder and faster than me and come race day, they fizzle out and I feel great. And how disappointing is it to work your ass off for months on end and have a crappy race day all because you didn’t rest? REST! Ha! The easiest part. It’s kind of funny like that.

    So glad you had an awesome 12 miler and that you made it to the beach for those miles. Even though I’m only about a 5 minute drive from the beach I often drive 30 minutes to go to my favorite part of the coast. 🙂 It’s kind of silly, but it makes me happy. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR RACE!!!

    • Thank you!! Already had the race…sometimes the timing of my posts are a little off from the actual life event….and I DID take a few rest days…and those fresh legs paid off:)

  3. Whoa – I am behind, and it’s almost time for another weekly posting! Congrats on checking off another half-marathon!!!

    My issue is that I don’t know how to rest. And to rest feels unproductive to me. I can hear my mom’s voice in my head – what are you doing? Why does rest = nothing in my mind? And yet, I sleep every night to rest for the next day.

    It’s only in the last 2-3 years that I allow myself to take naps on the weekends as needed. I don’t fight it anymore. I listen to my body. And guess what…. I don’t feel guilty about it 🙂 In fact, I feel refreshed, restored, renewed.

  4. Great post. I read in the comments that the race is over, I will be waiting for the recap. One of the challenges I have with the taper is that I feel SO MUCH BETTER after I run, so I usually just do short runs, and the last one, throw in a few pickups for confidence!

    • Thanks Cheryl. The race is done. I did manage to take rest days and not do another long run, and I ended up with a PR and felt great. I’m with you…I feel so much better on days that I run that it’s hard to have non-run days!

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