Avoiding taper madness

Cottage taperAfter Monday’s final long run, the anxiety set it. I knew it would. I was feeling pretty confident with my training up till that point, but as soon as that final long run was over, I started doubting everything. It doesn’t help that I started to experience intense knee pain about 20K into that final run. During breakfast on Tuesday, I literally burst into tears thinking about a DNF.

What if this pain becomes so bad, I can’t finish the marathon. This isn’t fair! I’ve trained so hard. How could I get hurt now?! How can I possibly heal in a week?

I started researching and talking to every expert I know. They didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Sounds like an IT band issue. Rest. Take it easy. Stretch. Get a massage. Buy a foam roller. Head to the cottage.

It’s funny how a change of scenery can alter your perception. The second we pulled into the driveway, anxiety seemed to disappear.

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful Fall day. Warm, sunny and vibrant. The Fall colours are just amazing. The roads are covered in beautiful red and orange leaves and the lake water is still and quiet. I set off on a short run to test my sore leg. 16K was on the agenda, but I did just over 11 to be safe.  It was just the run I needed to reset my mind.

My knee hurt. But it was OK. I spent the hour after my run stretching in the sun on the dock and icing my knee. It’s still tender but it feels better. Today, I’ll try a short 6K – mainly just so I don’t go into endorphin withdrawal!

Last year, I wrote this blog post about ways to deal with pre-race anxiety. It’s so sensible and smart. Today, I find it hard to believe I even wrote it considering how restless and concerned I’ve been feeling about next week’s marathon. I should really just take my own advice. Runner’s World also published this timely article about dealing with pre-marathon syndrome.

The countdown is on. One week today.

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