After those big weeks spent preparing and dreaming, the marathon is now only six days away. I am in the second week of my taper, fully excited about racing this weekend, with not a small dash of wondering how it will all pan out in the end. This much I know: I love the Victoria course, I love racing in my community and I have had a great build up, better running than I have done in several years. Tapering is a waiting game, but also a short period of time where you hone all your abilities, where you create a special emotional state in which to create an excellent performance. Tapering is like a gathering of all you know and have done: a collecting of all your abundant energy and passion, and shaping it to become one sharp focus. Like catching sun in a magnifying glass, that small but intense spot of light is what I aim for on race day.
And do I love racing!
Racing is a game. It is a competitive arena, a test of determination, strength, skill and savvy. Some of the games are more important than others; some come heavily weighted with expectations and goals. Some races are just for fun, to remind us how to enjoy the game. All races are opportunities to excel, to show mastery and skill and to learn. This is what makes sport so satisfying.
Here are a few positive pointers for race week:
In the last days before a race remind yourself often how much quality work you have done, the effort and focus that you have brought into this path, the awesome opportunity that you have created for yourself to succeed.
Draw confidence from knowing that you have prepared to the best of your abilities. I will remember those key sessions that I did so well, and keep telling myself of the strength and fitness I gained there.
Create and maintain a strong, happy and calm mental mindset going into your week and especially around the race packet pick up and expo. Keep the focus on your own race and your own effort on race day.
Take time out for yourself in the days before the race to think about these things, to prepare yourself for the thrill and hard work of race day. Work out your game plan ahead of time, your pacing and fuelling plan. Expect success but prepare for the discomfort as well!
Stay loose and active, but don’t walk too much around expo on the day before the race. Your rest days now are for recovery, not for getting ‘stuff’ done.
Organize for race day the day before while things are still calm. Put race gear, cool down clothes, nutrition, etc.. in separate bags. In the morning you should just be thinking about racing and getting to the start line.
Review the course, and pick areas that you can be really strong on. Choose parts that you like and embrace them. Use this positive energy in the race to propel you.
If you have friends watching you, tell them what you want to hear from them. Give them your ‘power’ words, the things that will make you happy to hear on race day. Be specific.
Remember that so much can happen on race day. It’s an adventure out there so be prepared to deal with unexpected situations with focus and grace. Never give up on your race and your effort as everything can change in a matter of moments.
Prepare to be tough no matter what happens.
Go into the race believing you will be successful and chances are it will happen!
Have a great race!