Ah, the dreaded taper.
Tapering is the two or even three week period before a marathon or endurance event. Your long runs are over, you’ve built your base, you’ve gotten the training miles under your belt and you are now supposed to cut back on the mileage each week in order to prepare your body for the race.
Tapering, no matter how restful and delightful it sounds are both awesome and sucky at the same time. Let me explain.
At the tail end of marathon training you are tired. To prepare for a marathon it takes hundreds of training miles and months of training. As mileage increases, aches, pains, and injuries can occur. Training for a marathon also requires discipline to get to bed on time (especially the night before a long run), to plan your social life around your long runs and often means skipping an extra glass of wine or other libation. The taper allows you to get back to a relatively normal life. To relax a bit. To slow down.
The downside of the taper is that as your mileage decreases, your anxiety increases as your confidence in your preparedness and training decreases. Mystery aches and pains occur when doing simple things like walking from your car to the office or reaching for the remote control. I’ve often “talked people down” during the taper, providing support and assurance that they will be ok and to trust in the training.
So, yes, it’s taper time. I’ve done my last long run this past weekend and have started reducing my mileage overall. I’ve gotten the foam roller and nubby stick out to use a few times a day and my hip opener sequence is bookmarked on my computer. I’m trying to drink more water and eat as cleanly as possible.
I’m traveling so I’ll need to get my bag packed and travel necessities ready to go. That will occupy my mind next week so that means less time worrying.
Let the taper begin…
Now go run!