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I love my taper. Seriously, it is one of my favorite parts of training.

I used to hate it and a lot of athletes do. After training SOOOO much, it can be hard to cut back. You get antsy. Feel like you should be doing something more. I mean, your race is only (insert short time period here) away. I remember for my first marathon I thought: How am I POSSIBLY going to be able to run 26 miles after not running over 20 in  weeks? Believe me, it can be done. It IS done and it is a good way to train.

After dealing with that anxiety over "not training enough during taper", I have come to look at my taper more for the mental side of my training.

1) I get to my taper and I know that I have done everything I can for the race and, at this point, there is nothing more training-wise that I can really do to be prepared. I love this feeling. There is always a point where you have to let go and trust in your training. Some athletes this doesn't happen till race day (if it happens at all). For me, it starts with the taper. The race isn't about what you do the week or two before, it is about ALL the training you have put in. And, in endurance sports, that is weeks and months before your race, not days. By getting to the taper, I have done my job. Now, I need to sit back and see what my training has done for me.

2) Not only does the taper give my body a time to rest, but I am giving my mind a time to wrap itself around what I am about to endure. Whatever distance I am about to race, I need some time to reflect on my goals are and how I am going to achieve them. I know you have heard that saying, "it's 90% mental", or a similar one. And that applies to race day AND before. For me, I need to be prepared mentally with how I plan to carry and take in my nutrition,  as a race plan and race goals in order to really be successful with what the day will bring you. For some reason, I try not to think about this too much, or at least make these decisions, until the taper.

After my workout on Friday, I started my taper. I am only tapering for a little over a week, but it will be a well-rested, well-thought out week. This weekend I race the HITS Ocala half Ironman.
At this time (I haven't thought everything out), I am not entirely sure what my race goals are. I want to do well, but I haven't completely defined what that is to me. I am using this race to see where I am in my Ironman training, so I am excited to see the results - whatever they may be. And, I am excited to see my parents (I'll save that story for another posting).

For now, I am relaxed and resting my body, keeping my legs snappy and preparing the best I can mentally. Physically, I will be pushed on Sunday, and I want to be ready-- IT'S TAPER TIME!!!