You would think that by taking a few days off from running or having an easy week I would feel confident and relaxed about my upcoming race. It actually has the opposite effect on me. Instead of a happy, relaxed week, I begin to second guess my training.
I should have done more speed work.
I should have done an extra long run.
I should have done more hill workouts to prepare for the hills along 5th Ave and in Central Park.
These are the thoughts that invade my mind during my taper weeks (but most especially in the last few days prior to the race).
How do I expect to run a sub-7:45 pace for 26.2 miles?
First, it’s my first marathon in almost 2 1/2 years. I haven’t pushed myself hard for 26.2 miles in a long time. I’ve done a few runs longer than the marathon distance to prepare for my ultra on Nov 19, but I wasn’t pushing myself – it was a steady pace for the whole run.
Due to modern technology, my (almost) every move is going to be watched by a lot of people. As I’ve said earlier, the last marathon I did was over 2 1/2 years ago – technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now so those that wanted to “follow” me didn’t get the opportunity to get MILE splits. Knowing that friends and family are going to be analyzing my time and seeing how I’m doing at each mile during the marathon makes me extremely nervous.
Lastly, the “race within the race” is going to be aired on national television during NBC’s coverage of the marathon on Sunday morning. It’s not like we are going to have a camera crew driving alongside us like the elites do. But, there will be some brief coverage of the competition and knowing that, just adds to the nervousness – and doubt – that has begun to sink in.
At the end of the day, what matters most is that I have a safe and happy run – and that I’m satisfied with my run time for the second half. But it’s hard to convince myself this as the hours until the race starts draws closer and the excitement, nervousness, and doubt only continue to increase.
Do you experience doubt before a big race? How do you cope with it?