Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's Almost Race Time

It's been a quiet few weeks here at "TSL." There are some reasons I could give you for why:
  1. The NBA playoffs
  2. The NFL draft
  3. Laziness and inertia (my personal favorite)
All these factors definitely play a part in TSL's recent silence, but I think the biggest reason is that my first serious race of the season is happening next weekend.

I've never had children, so I don't presume to know the nervousness and anticipation of a mother-to-be as she waits for the arrival of a child, but the first big race, (really any big race) gives me a similar kind of stress. I don't talk about it. I don't write about it. But there it sits on my shoulders. I carry its weight with me.

So let's talk about it, shall we?

What To Do The Week Before a Race

The week before a competition is known as "taper week." It's a time to rest the body and prepare the mind for the challenge that is to come. Your milage drops, your bedtime is earlier, the gummy bears get hidden on the top shelf in the back of the pantry.

Seems simple, right? A lot of resting, relaxing, and waiting.

Except, it's not. Not for me. Not for a lot of the type-A people that I know who need to fill the hours of their day with some kind of activity. And if my activity is taken away, then mental anxiety starts to fill that empty space.

So, here's what I do. I slow down, but I don't stop completely. First of all, if you've been training hard for an event, the taper week should feel much-needed. But that doesn't mean that you should sequester yourself in a room until race day.

Rest your body for the first few days. Do some light jogging. Do some water jogging in the pool. Get together with friends you haven't seen during your training. Enjoy your down time.

Think of yourself as a lake in the spring. The more rest you get, the more your muscles relax and grow strong. The ice melts, the strength flows back into you. By the time race day arrives, your reservoir of capability should be full-to bursting. When the starting whistle sounds, the dam breaks, and you can let all of your pent-up energy out.
But it starts with rest.

I'll be around this week, hopefully more active than before. Have a good week, everyone, and good luck in whatever you're individually preparing for.

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