10 days to go.
Counting down from 10 is like a proper countdown, who starts from 21?
10 days where all I can do is mess things up! There's no more fitness gains to be made, no training that I can do now that will have any difference on the outcome.
That's it. Done. Dusted.
Now I need to make sure I arrive at the start line rested, refreshed and ready to rock.
This magic art that is called tapering.
But how do you taper for something that's going to take everything you've got and then a bit more? I've looked back at what's worked for me previously and for my Bob Graham I spent the week before camping on my own with Maria and Louis so lots of activities but no actual running or cycling as such. I think I got round that day by being too stubborn (I mean driven) to admit defeat when I thought I was behind schedule and when I was actually behind schedule. Bloody mindedness can get you a long way it seems!
For my Paddy Buckley I've looked back at my Strava and although in my head I thought I had taken it easy for two weeks it appears not. I went all out in a race the week before, only a 10k race but it was hilly and I was going pretty close to flat out, and I also kept up my hill repeats until this point as well. Something that I dropped this year last week.
Today I went out for a gentle bike ride that ended up being 42 miles. Probably get away with that. I didn't push too hard and it was nice to keep ticking over with a couple of hard efforts along the way.
Tomorrow I am booked in for a sports massage to unlock the feeling I have in my legs and running frame. I think the cumulative effect of all the training means I need relaxing. At least I think that's what I need.
Who knows? And that's more or less where I'm at. Nobody knows. All the books, coaches, internet chats and sports blogs point to one thing. Nobody really knows. Even looking back with hindsight is only partly useful because when you replicate something that worked previously there's no guarantee it will work this time. Tapering is not only an individual thing it's also different for each event and for each particular set of circumstances related to the run up to each event. And for each person.
Reading between the lines it seems very likely that tapering is a made up idea designed to make people worry about the days leading up to an event! I think I could go so far as to say that as long as you believe you've had the perfect taper then that should be fine.
So I shall continue to run short distances daily, maybe. Unless I don't feel like it in which case I shall have a day off. My hands and feet are tingling due to the mileage drop which I know is a good sign. I liken it to feeling like being wound up slowly so that at the point of the event I let it all go. What I mustn't do is treat any of the coming days as training - there is a danger I could go too far and too hard and not leave enough time for recovery before the big day. But then again who's to say that might not be what I need?
So that's tapering cleared up - I hope you're all the wiser for it.