Updated: May 16, 2018
The last 2 weeks before a meet are always a bit weird for me. Coming off a long cycle of intense training, hauling gym PR weights - you "all of sudden" start doing "near nothing" - to get the fatigue to dissipate from the beaten up body... I usually stop heavy deadlifts 2 weeks out, squats 1,5 weeks out and bench a week out before a meet. Everyone (who is aware that tapering makes sense) seems to have its own way of dealing with this period.
This week - the week before the Europeans in Schleusingen (PAG/WPF) - it is that time again for me.
One starts to worry about everything:
What weight to open with ?
What would my "good day serie" be like
What is the plan B serie ..
Will I be able to make my PRs
Due to the deloading I start to feel small aches and pains in lowerback and knees ... do I have an injury I was not aware of ?
My sleep gets less "rosy" due to lack of training and slight worries
Do I have all my gear together ?
I start to feel like a time-bomb with all the energy that seems to get cropped up inside me - which strangley turns into the opposite - a feeling of lethargy and dis-interest in normal life and work life issues. One might call it nervous, grumpy, a bit depressed, worrying ...
How do I usually get through this period:
I try to read stuff to get my mind off the contest
I watch some motivational movies
I have tested my openers at the start of the tapering - so I have 100% confidence
I seek company in the gym and outside - chatting helps stress relief
I take a massage or visit the sauna
Before falling a sleep visualize my lifts - including set up, the smells, music, "feel" etc.
I do 2 small workouts in the last week with not more then 50% of my max weights and 50% of volume tops. just to keep the blood flowing.
Avoid very distractive daunting work / normal life / travel engagements (sounds weird, but having a feeling of "control" ove the last week works well for me.)
I put all my collected gear visibly in my bedroom - so I can see nothing is missing.
I keep eating my regulars - make sure to get my glycogen stores filled...so up the carbs quite a bit.. I am at 123 kg in the 125 class -- so no worries about making weight.
What NOT to do:
Change eating habits - loose of try to gain weight in the last 2 weeks to make weight. This very often results in disaster on your performance (especially loosing weight) but also gaining 2 or 3 kg will make you feel very sub-parr and run havoc on your performance. If you are a starting athlete - you will have a some years where you will rise to the weight class that you will belong to in the end - so sometimes in teh this period you will be "light" in a heavy class or heavy in a light class - with all its drawbacks and positives. Just take these years as a learning period and worry less about making weight.
Test your maxes in the last week - "just to be sure". I have had athletes in my group who tried this and had a suprise of their life at the meet.
Enage in other sports activities or normal life ativities you usually never do (as a powerlifting) - do runs, play tennis, go for a game of soccer... redo the kitchenfloor or whole garden - because you now have time for it ... if you usually do not do those activities they will leave you very sore and you might run into an injury as well. Not good for the meet results
Start planning your next cycle of training. During this week you need to "live in the presence" - focus on the task at hand.
Panic and start to research and read on how you could suddenly enhance your performance by using a different technique, grip, stance, gear.. and decide to "go for it". Changes in approach can be made in the next cycle - this is not the time for brilliant ideas. I have seen people change ther approach on the meet day itself - copying someone elses style - or using someones else their gear - and miserably fail.
Finally - the key is to rtealize tthat there are reasons to be gratefull and enjoy that I am allowed and able to compete - and can look forward to my next meet and "grow" each time a little bit - mentally and physically.