If there’s more, I want it.
There it is, my approach to running and entertainment and work and love, wrapped up in six little words. The six-word memoir is one of my favorite writing exercises. Inspired by Hemingway’s legendary short story “For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” six-word stories force the writer to focus on the heart of the matter.
I’m constantly seeking more. I want to run faster and farther. I want to continue my education and advance my career. I want at least one more taco, always. My hunger is insatiable, regardless of context.
As such, taper week is a bit of a challenge. The week before a major race is intentionally easier in order to be rested for the big day. Runs are shorter or slower. Strength training is minimized or eliminated altogether. Bedtimes are earlier. Carbs and water are consumed in bulk.
In a lot of ways, it’s nice. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy the sleeping and the eating and the not running? But after weeks of ramping up, it’s hard to dial it back. I have momentum and discipline. I want to be doing more. I should be doing more.
I ran 7.5 miles this morning, and 7.5 only. I stopped because I was supposed to, because it was part of the plan. In exactly one week I run a half marathon, so I stuck to the schedule and stopped. I didn’t want to. I was running well and having a great time. Stopping doesn’t feel like preparation. It feels like weakness.
But it isn’t. There’s no weakness in letting your body recover and grow stronger. Taper week is an essential part of of the process. After testing your body during months of training, you need to let it heal so it’s ready for the race.
Tapering is all about balance. You need to recover without completely giving up. It can be difficult to find the sweet spot between strength and surrender, between rest and laziness, between carbing up and overeating, between hydrating constantly and having an emergency on the train. It’s a fine line.
But trust the process. Trust your training. You’ve done enough, and one last run won’t help. No matter how much you crave to do more, have faith that you’re doing the most good by doing less. You’ll be strong and rested and ready.
Just relax. You’ve got this.