Training for a distance event can become an all-consuming activity. When we are not running, we are thinking about running. After one workout, we are immediately recovering and refueling for the next session. We compulsively check weather forecasts, meticulously pack our running clothes and cancel social engagements in favor of early bedtimes.
It takes this level of dedication in order to be successful. For the puzzle to be complete, you need all the pieces. However, the intimate involvement required comes at a cost. We identify solely as runners, and can lose our other identities as parents, teachers or artists.
I encourage everyone to take advantage of the extra time afforded by the taper period, and step off the merry-go-round. Get back in touch with your pre-training self, and engage in activities you enjoy other than running. This serves several purposes: it takes your mind off the restless legs, creates psychological distance so you are mentally refreshed on race day and helps avoid the post-race blues that come along with the lack of a structured training regimen. Use the taper period as an opportunity for strategic, mindful disassociation.
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