At the tail end of a training program the feeling is always the same for me. Especially the last month. With 2 weeks left of my hardest and longest runs in training, my legs are starting to feel it. I can begin to see the end in sight. Being able to see the training plan each and every day is the best way to remind myself that it is a light, not a train. Some days I have my doubts.
That is a real benefit to looking at your plan on paper or checking off those runs, is being able to see it and know what you have left. There is a real danger at this point that I know can happen for me. I feel like you are ready. I feel like, if the race was today I could probably do it. I can begin to think about staying healthy the final few weeks before your race and vision the race itself.
A big mental thing for me is not to finish a training plan just to say I finished it, but to show my mind that there are no options. Taking this training all the way to the end is very important for me. I can name you races where I backed off of training the last week or two before the taper and nothing good happened. Not from a physical part but mental. I did not quit running, but let up just a little. Maybe I cut a run or two short here or there. Maybe I let off the gas and coasted just a little. These were not major cuts and if I told you what I did during that week you might think nothing of it. Most runners might say it was even a smart move to play it safe.
The races where I have felt the strongest is where I did not let up. I carried it all the way to the end. This has nothing to do with staying healthy, so always listen to your body. This has to do with your body at the end of the training plan just feeling tired. Some days my legs feel great and some days I can really feel like the training for this race is almost done. I can feel each and every mile.
I just try to remind myself that every one of these miles brings me closer to the finish line. At this point, I know I am trained. I know I am ready. I just need those final mental preparations. The final weeks of pushing through the training is just that for me. If you train yourself to quit, take a short cut or let off the gas now, then you are giving your mind and body permission to do the same for the race. Quitting is contagious. Once you start, it is hard to stop.
My last few runs have nothing to do with my physical training and everything to do with how I go into this race mentally.