I am now well into taper week 3, which has been pretty miserable. Here I am, having trained for months, and I don’t even want to run. I have skipped both runs, a 4-mile maintenance and a 9-mile tempo run, this week and I don’t even care. I have heard that tapering can be rough mentally but I’m not sure if I am just tired.
As I have gotten older, I feel like my body needs more rest to prep for a race than is usually allowed for in training plans. I know I can do the distance, so now it’s just a waiting game. What am I waiting for? That feeling of not being able to wait to get out and run. That’s how I usually feel about running, not angry at it like I do now.
My goal pace for the race is 8:45 and I feel like that’s doable. I did a few tempo runs at 8:30 and they were tough, but I did it. My plan is to run the first 16 at 8:45 pace, and then if I am feeling great, I can up it. If I can finish under 4 hours, my next goal is to try to BQ, or Boston-Qualify, which would mean I have to run a marathon at a pace of 8:20. Considering I did zero strength training this time, I think that’s possible if I add the strength component and actually build some muscle for speed.
My mantra for this race is to run so that I’m useless the rest of the day. What does that mean? Well, one time I saw a friend post his 5-mile run on Facebook, and he ran it at a 7-minute mile pace. I commented on how fast he was, and he agreed, but said, “But then I’m useless for the rest of the day.”
A month or so later, I was running a 10k, plodding along at a 9:30 pace and not really feeling it. After the turnaround, I decided to run so that I was “useless” the rest of the day. I ran the remainder much faster and finished with an 8:20 pace.
So as I am running this race, I am going to try not to save anything for later. It goes against our instincts as humans, so it’s a hard thing to do. After all, if you’re a caveman chasing a buffalo, you have to save something for later if you want to survive and pass on your genes. It’s inside us to save something for later—that’s how the human race continues. So to really run this way, you have to ignore every single piece of DNA sending signals to your lizard brain saying, “STOP! We can’t survive this!”
That’s what makes running so intriguing to me—overcoming the primal with the intellectual. It takes so much focus to overcome that primal beast in the back of your head, but you can. Knowing that yes, I can do this, and I can do it faster than I thought possible—that’s my goal.