I say it every time. But I swear, this time, the taper is going to kill me.
If you’ve never run a distance race, you likely have no idea what I’m talking about. If you have, I assume you’re groaning along right with me.
Here’s the deal:
Most training schedules include some period of time between the longest training run and the goal event, and the length of time can vary from a few days up to three weeks, usually dependent on the length of the race. During this time, mileage is decreased to allow the athlete to recover as much as possible without losing fitness gained during the training cycle.
Here’s the problem:
Taper Madness. This drop in mileage can cause a person to do crazy things.
First, you have a ton of time on your hands. You’ve been spending hours and hours per week training. And now you’re not. That leaves plenty of time for other things…worrying about the race…eating like you were still training…worrying about the race.
Second, your body will play tricks on you. Any miniscule pain you’ve EVER had will come back. You’ll feel tired all day, yet wide-awake all night. You will get a cold. Motivation to run will be at an all-time low.
The good news is, you’ll probably be fine. Unless you’ve been working towards a time goal, you could feasibly not run a single step between the last long run and the race and still cross the finish line. And if you do have a goal, just keeping your legs loose with a few workouts can get you there.
Now, more than ever, you MUST trust your training. You’ve done the hard work. Enjoy yourself. Relax.
Do what professional athletes do: Take a nap. Eat well. Get a massage. Take another nap.
This weekend I’m running the Goofy Challenge in Walt Disney World. Eek! That’s a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.
I know…that’s just Goofy!
I planned a three week taper. This week I’m barely putting in any mileage outside of the bike…and the 39.3 this weekend! I don’t know what to do with myself. My foot hurts, and this is a new thing. It’s not skeletal…likely an overworked tendon or a pinched nerve. I spend most of my day convincing myself it’s in my head. And stretching. Then I ride my bike to keep my head from exploding. Distraction is my best friend. I’ve divided the simple tasks I have to do before I leave for Florida, just to keep my mind busy. Long conversations with friends keep me laughing. Laughing keeps me from crying. It’s a vicious cycle.
And on Sunday night it will all be over. And I’ll have all three medals around my neck. And I’ll sleep. But until then…
Tomorrow’s news: The Next Mile