102 miles of Cotswolds racing await me tomorrow. As I write this, the pre-race nerves have set up camp. To mentally prepare, I’m visualising myself at various stages of the event, including crossing that finish line at Bath Abbey on Sunday.
Most ultra-runners blog about events after they’ve finished – and I hope to be doing the same next week. But few write about the last couple of days before the start, so I thought it might be useful to quickly document how I’m feeling and last-minute preparations.
Feeling the fear
Pre-race nerves are healthy. As I wrote recently, upping my mileage and focusing on weighted steps in training has (I hope!) made me that bit stronger and more prepared.
While my weekend long runs (20-26 miles) have not been quick, they have felt good, and I’ve been recovering more quickly after them – all signs of improvement in my book. As a result, I’ve got more self-belief than I’ve had before other races, and a real belief that I’ll do OK this weekend.
I know there’s always a sense of setting myself up for a fall by verbalising these positive feelings, but I’m a firm believer in sharing goals with friends or on social media. It encourages integrity and accountability – I have to be honest to myself and those I’ve told.
Assessing progress and getting ready
The truth is, there’s just no substitute for hard work and training. At almost 52, I’m not getting any younger! However, the back to back long runs have built my endurance, and the weighted steps have done wonders for the strength in my legs.
This week, my tapering has fallen off a cliff! I’ve only done a couple of two or three-mile runs, mostly because work and social stuff have taken over. I’ve also been tired, and am more aware than ever that I need to conserve energy to bank reserves for the event. Something I have changed in the last couple of weeks is adding a short 15-minute yoga session three times a week, which is helping me mentally prepare as well as stretching out.
Off we go
So, here’s looking forward to this weekend’s Cotswold Century! I hope to be writing a glowing race report next week. In the meantime, happy running and racing everyone.