There’s less than 2 weeks to go until the London Marathon. The day when the last 18 weeks of training are put to the test, the day when you realise if all the hard work and sacrifice was worth it, the day when you bask in glory…or crash and burn in a devastating fall from grace, the day when everyone else knows whether you succeeded, or whether you failed…
There’s less than 2 weeks to go until the London Marathon and that means it’s time for the taper to slowly chip away at every ounce of confidence you ever had.
The taper’s a funny thing, you spend all winter looking forward to those 2/3 weeks at the end of your plan when the intensity drops back and the long runs look easy, but when it gets here it’s not quite as much fun as you thought. By the time the taper arrives you know it’s too late to change anything, there’s absolutely nothing more you can do to make yourself fitter, stronger, or faster except wind down, rest and eat well. It’s terrifying!
On Saturday I went for a Parkrun PB, I actually wanted more than a PB, I wanted a confidence boosting 21:59. Having gone to bed early, and dragging myself out in the pouring rain on a Saturday morning, I fell off the pace quickly and finished in a disappointing 22:23. Rubbish.
However, it was my 2nd best Parkrun time ever, and this time last year I could only dream of anything starting with a 22, surely that’s a positive thing and a sign that the hard work is paying off? So, this Saturday I’ll be trying again, one last shot at sub 22 before judgement day.
It’s difficult not to question every decision I’ve made over the last few weeks. Should I have picked up the pace a bit more in my long runs? Could I have tried just a bit harder in the Hampton Court half? Should I have pushed through the last 2k at track last week when my legs didn’t work rather than bowing out? Did I run too fast at tempo? Was 3 x 20 milers enough? Could I have done more, run further, tried harder???
Once you throw in the phantom injuries, imaginary niggles and overwhelming paranoia you realise the taper is anything but fun. You’re convinced you’re going to get sick from the snotty nosed teenager that just sneezed on you, or you’re going to accidentally fall off a bridge into the Thames and break your leg, or Snoopy, the crazy dog who lives down the road, is going to bite your arm off and tear you limb from limb. Convinced. (Snoopy really is a nutter you know).
I really don’t know what race day will bring this time. I do know that I’ve run more miles (yes, I’ve counted), and put in more effort (yes, I’ve calculated) than I have for any other marathon, but I really don’t know if I’ve done enough. I do know that I’m not ready for this taper, not ready at all.
And I don’t know if I can do it.