Here I am in the midst of taper madness for the Outer Banks Marathon.
The taper: you know, that magical place when you sit back and enjoy all this extra free time and relish in all your hard work over the past 18 weeks…
Wait, what? It doesn’t feel magical to me!
In fact, I’d say the taper kind of sucks.
Why does the taper suck?
You start second guessing all of your training.
You worry about the race.
Your body feels sluggish.
You feel lazy.
You feel like you should be doing more.
You catch a cold.
Your muscles ache.
You feel heavy.
You are a little heavy- you gained a pound or two.
Sound magical to you?
To clarify, the taper is the weeks before a key race where you cut back your mileage and let your muscles repair. Your body recovers from all the hard work you have been putting it through during training. You focus on replenishing all your glycogen stores in preparation for race day. The general recommended taper for a marathon is 3 weeks, though some people do a 2 week taper.
For me, the taper isn’t magical. Instead, it can suck a little, but I put together a few tips to help make the taper a little less “sucky” and maybe a little more “magical.”
Yes, you can replenish your glycogen stores and carbo-load, but don’t go crazy. Keep it simple, keep it light, keep it easy to digest.
Now is not the time to make up for lost time. Don’t try to cram in extra runs or miles. They will only hurt you at this point.
Don’t stress about every ache or pain:
Most of those phantom pains are part of the rejuvenation process that the is going through during the taper. Try to think of this as a good sign-rather than a pesky problem or cause for alarm. Your body is getting stronger during this healing process.
Review your training log and pick out a few key runs where you felt strong. Focus on THOSE run and how great you felt!
Stay away from germs:
Become a little bit of a hypochondriac. There’s nothing wrong with Purell, Airborne or whatever other preventive measures you take to ensure you don’t get a cold.
Stay busy, but not with extra cross training or running, but with other activities. Grab a coffee with a friend, pick up a new book. Do some online shopping (one of my personal favorites). Keep your mind off running a bit.
You got this.
I know that this post isn’t all that timely since most of you are done with your fall marathons. But there are a few of us still counting down the days until our next marathon (9 days for me!!!)