Training for a marathon is a long process. After months of training and focusing on a goal race, we finally come to the last 2 or 3 weeks and start our TAPER. So many of us write about taper-time madness and the feelings and thoughts that come with this part of the training plan. It is a time to start cutting back on the mileage and long workouts. A time to absorb the hard work we've put ourselves through. And a time to recharge for the big day.
Taper is exciting and maddening all at once. With it comes a slew of emotions and feelings for me. Mostly positive. My body and mind are tired as they should be after my highest peak week of training. 73 miles ending in a hilly 22 miler @ 8:00 pace will do that do a girl. And I'm going easy on myself.
Yesterday's "planned" 13 mile run was awful. My body was slow and TIRED and it was a battle just to hold on to a recovery pace. I got home after my second attempt at fitting in my miles feeling knocked down. But instead of feeling defeated, I had grace with myself.
My after-run Runninghood facebook status:
"Some days we have it and some days we don't. Today, I didnt' have it. Body says: REST. So, I'm going to listen. I think this is true in so many things we experience...motherhood, our jobs, sport, relationships...We don't always have to be "ON". Cut yourself some slack today (message to myself)."
I'm reminding myself to truly listen to my body and know that I make the best decisions for myself as my own coach. Sometimes this means not following my plan and giving myself an unplanned down day. That would be today. If I feel charged later today then I'll fit in my recovery run. If not, no big deal. It isn't the end of the world to miss a day if I feel I need it. And I'm pretty sure I need it.
Instead of running, I felt drawn to my much neglected Running Journal that so many of you know me for. I felt the need to process some of these taper-time feelings that are stirring around within me...nerves, flickers of doubts, excitement for the big day, fatigue, etc. I was drawn to some good ol' quiet, reflective and creative time Amanda/Runninghood style. It's been awhile. This training cycle has been mostly running and logging analytical data. The facts. But not so much of the feelings.
Today was a great day to spend time in my Running Journal since I've had my older nieces around to play with the kids. For me, my Running Journal time involved:
- Reading over my training runs and the data that shows all of my hard work...The numbers that are proof that my race goal is realistic and within my reach. This really helped me fill my confidence cup.
- Reading some positive e-mails from friends that believe in me.
- Creating a collage based on flow and feelings about the upcoming Boston Marathon.
Collage Journaling/Art is a great tool for me to use when I'm a bundle of emotions and mixed feelings. It is a tool I've used often throughout my life when it comes to channeling my inner strength and focus. Going through the process of creating a collage is very therapeutic for me and I almost always come out of it with a new clarity and calm. You might remember some of the collages I did before the Newport Marathon last spring:
|These are great to look back on even if I'm at a different place than I was then.|
The Collage Journaling Process:
- Find a quiet and comfortable place to relax. As a mom of three little ones, this can be tricky but today I had older cousins visiting so this turned out to be a very quiet and relaxing morning.
- Gather collage supplies: magazines, glue sticks, scissors, paper or journal. For me, a few old Runner's World magazines do the trick for words to cut out. And of course, my Running Journal is where I put my collages.
- Go by FLOW and FEEL. When I'm looking through my magazines with scissors in hand, I almost always have a strong FEEL for the image and message I want to capture. As I'm looking through my magazines, I let my mind flow with the thoughts I'm wanting to capture. If a picture or word jumps out and flows with what I'm "feeling" then I cut it out. Sometimes when a word in itself is a great word for me but the color or size of it just doesn't flow, I leave it behind. I know, it sounds funny but it all makes sense when I'm in the process.
- Keep it Open. Let your mind be open to including all sorts of messages in this collage. You might be surprised at what you end up with when you let your your mind flow. Your collage isnt' something that has to be finished TODAY..keep adding to it. I didnt' finish my collage today but just starting it helped me to feel calm, focused and positive. And put some of these "Taper jitters" in the trash.
|My unfinished collage journaling that I will continue to add to in the next few weeks.|
1. Have you tried creating collages as a tool for finding focus, reflecting or setting goals/visions for your life?
2. What are some things you remember about the taper time that comes right before a peak race?