When we wake up tomorrow, October 28th, we will officially be in single digit countdown territory for the New York City Marathon.
Dun. Dun. F*cking Dun.
No matter what training plan you followed, your taper should be well underway at this point, meaning every single thought of self-doubt, ailing injuries and panic are now the only channels working.
I’ve also been a real treat to be around lately. I’m definitively a crazy person and spend all my time either reacting over-emotionally to small feedback or interactions, or discussing my over-emotional reaction, in an overly emotional way.
Runner’s World slipped this tidbit of wisdom into their daily newsletter yesterday, 4 Ways Your Brain Suffers When You Stop Running, which gave me just enough validation to get through dinner.
We’re not programmed to enjoy the taper, but we actually really should, don’t you think?
Here’s what I’ve been doing, in those quiet moments when I’m not insane.
1. Go to a barre (or other) class
Barre is such an amazing complimentary workout for runners. I only wish I did it more. The monotony and sweat-free environment is definitely daunting on the brain, but aside from a strict physical therapy regimen, in my opinion, this is the next best thing you can do for those weird (and not so weird) places that get tight and uncomfortable during runs. Not to mention, your seat will be higher, your core will be tighter and your arms will be ready for racer-back tanks all year long.
2. A run fun here and there
I’m going on a jog tomorrow morning and I’m PUMPED. I can’t WAIT to set my alarm, jump out of bed and leave my watch and ego at home. I’ve mapped out a short 3 mile loop through the waterfront facing Manhattan and I. can’t. wait. If, and only if, you can mentally let go of expectations – I think jogs to feed the beast HEREANDTHERE and fair game. Just don’t consider this training – because that part’s done. The hay is in the barn.
3. Watch all the inspirational videos you can possibly get your hands on
It’s a really emotional time right now. It’s also really hard to communicate that to someone who isn’t going through this exact experience. When I told my mom I was emotionally fragile because of all the pressure of the marathon, I was greeted with a long, judgmental pause and absolutely zero sympathy. Never, ever forget that you made a choice to do this, and you were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to do it. That being said, one of my favorite bloggers, Ali Feller did an on-point round up of all the marathon inspiration content you need. Watch the videos, cry, get pumped, repeat.
4. Catch up with friends
In the last 24 hours I had dinner with a close friend and breakfast (and barre!) with one of my dear old coworker turned pals. The sudden gaps and availability are perfect to reconcile all those relationships you damaged by bailing on drinks, leaving parties early and missed texts the last four months (or more). I’m only half kidding about that.
5. Plan your celebration
After the New York City Half Marathon this year, I co-planned a brunch and boozy afternoon with my best friend also running the race, and we invited all our friends. Keep your mind busy thinking of the light at the end of the 26.2 mile tunnel. Look up your first post-marathon meal and drink. Make those reservations, plan those Instagram captions.
6. Study (don’t cram) the course
We’re about to embark on a 26 mile tour of the best city in the world – get familiar with what you’re going to pass when. The course map shows every mile marker through every neighborhood. Perfect time to send those texts to friends and family from Carrol Gardens telling them your bib number and tracker information. On that note, print a copy out of the course and mark who will be at what point (don’t bring this with you on the race, that’s weird.) We’ve heard this before – but make the marathon less about running 26 consecutive miles, and more about running from one pal to the next.
7. Know your fears, turn them into goals
My biggest fear is getting injured or worsening my injury to a point of 911 and “panic level” pain. This is a now something I can relate to because of that one fateful run this training cycle. I’m totally freaked out by this. Instead of thinking, “don’t get hurt, don’t get hurt” I’m setting my goal to feel good. If that means slowing down, I’ll do that. If that means stretching and icing in the middle of the course – I guess I’ll do that too. My goal is just to soak in every bit of what the marathon means, and become that super annoying (and amazing) hype-woman for this race when I cross that finish line.
8. Visualize your success
In that same essence, try to think of all the great things that will happen because of this race. If this is your first time running a marathon – you’ll be a marathoner! If your name is Anna, you’ll be an #ANNATHONER. I live right by the finish line so it’s easy for me to close my eyes and know exactly what the sights and sounds will be at the finish, but the fun part is inserting the faces I hope to see (hi MOM!) and how that will feel. Picture it, live it.
And, here’s what you shouldn’t do.
TL;DR: The bottom line on all of these will be, save yourself – there is no point.
1. Squeeze in that 20 (18, 16, 14,…) miler for peace of mind
This will not make you any more ready for the race than you already are. If anything, it may hurt you. You have a greater chance of injury and you’re going to be cutting into that precious rest time. Just don’t do it. Where’s the hay? It’s in the barn.
2. Check the weather
I plead guilty. I checked the weather 12 days out and it wasn’t what I wanted to see and now I’m paying for it. There is scientifically no way to know the weather almost two weeks in advance with more than 50% accuracy. This will only torture you. We have 0 control over the weather, and if it’s sh*tty out, it’ll be sh*tty out for everyone.
3. Go on a shopping spree on Nike.com
Did you get that email too? Yeah, they’re having a sale. If you want to go all out and get a bunch of off-season shorts, do it. But don’t pick out your race outfit. It’s way too late to best testing new clothes. Go with what you know.
4. Wear your marathon shirt
I mean. Come on.
That’s all folks. Now enjoy the last week that you’ll be able to say “No, not this weekend, it’s next weekend.”