Mind Gremlins and Tapering
Everyone has a different idea of how you should taper, and honestly I am not sure there is specifically a correct way to do it as every body is different. For me taper week has always been a rough one for me. Balancing resting, keeping your body fresh, and the mind gremlins at bay. Mind Gremlins.
Definition: little gremlins that sneak into your thoughts and build webs of doubt and insecurity.
I have a bad case of them currently. Thanks to an incredible funk that I have been in the last two weeks the mind gremlins have built some pretty big webs within my thoughts to the point where I have been having a hard time feeling prepared. It is not that I have lost my ability to believe in myself or know that I can complete the race and do decently at it, more that they have wiggled their way into my confidence that I will be able to hit the goals that I have set for this race.
"I have been riding so much slower." "I haven't been able to put all the miles in" "Legs feel heavy" "I haven't rode over 50 miles in about two weeks" "Running has been a struggle" "Maybe I haven't been eating enough" "How am I going to be able to keep up with everyone" "Why do I feel slower though I have been working so hard" "I don't feel prepared" "Did I not train properly" "Should I ride today? Or rest my legs? Do I do a brick? Do I rest?"
Those are just a few of the thoughts that run through my head and keeping the gremlins at bay is no simple task. "Trust in your training" they say. Much easier said than done. Yes, I know that I must trust, I must trust in the fact that not only have I put the work in but that I am strong and tough enough to give the race my all no matter what. What is true is that no matter what I will stand on that sand at the edge of Lake Couer d'Alene on Sunday morning prepared to give it everything I have. It is this truth that I am working hard to focus on.
Whether it is the mind gremlins gripping their little fingers in my thoughts or that my body is actually a bit burnt out or a bit of both but I started my taper a little bit earlier than I normally do.
The plan had been to basically train through this race, with only a couple days rest, as the full Ironman at the end of August is the end goal. However, due to feeling as though I have no energy left to train and being concerned about a bit of burn out I decided to change my plan and taper a bit more for this race.
I began a slight taper last week in which I decreased the amount of time I spent on the bike and running. Instead of doing back to back rides this past weekend, I rode one day and ran the other. The beautiful thing about that was on Sunday I had a glorious run in which I actually felt like a runner again and helped to shake some of those pesky gremlins.
This week I will get one more light ride in and a couple light runs in, however the bulk of my training will be spent in the gym keeping my muscles loose and strength up with weight training. Lifting during taper week does not trash my body like running and biking can sometimes so doing so during taper week does not worry me. While tapering usually is tough for me as I spend more time second guessing what I am doing it is wonderful as it means I get to spend more time with my husband and go to the gym with him. I am finding as my training load increases I miss our evening gym sessions more and more.
Part of my taper includes prepping for the weather to be on that day. It is looking like it will be a beautiful day! With temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s all week. This will help continue to warm the water which is still a bit chilly as well as be beneficial for myself as I tend to preform better when the weather is warmer. Yet this means I need to ensure to keep up my electrolyte intake this week, something I am realizing now as I write to you that I have not started doing.
As I sit here and write to you all I am becoming more excited for race day than I was even when I started this to you. For that I thank you all as your willingness to let me write to you often helps me to work through whatever it is that is running through my mind, and this time it was the little gremlin fighting its way into feeling as though I am not ready to race.
Stay tuned for a short pre-race note and Happy First Day of SUMMER!!