The Taper Post

Tomorrow morning is my last long run until the marathon. My group and I are doing 8-10 miles and I could not be looking forward to it more. My GOD, I just want to move. This taper shit has got to go.

I received an email from our training group that had this gem in it:

Remember to taper cross-training activities as well. Drop the weight training and any other aerobic cross-training, like spinning, stair master, etc. You can continue with stretching classes, Yoga, or Pilates but be VERY conservative.

Nice. So I can’t do weight training or Crossfit. But I get the go-ahead on the two things I hate the most.

(source – all images)

I wrote some things I learned about marathon training awhile back and now I thought I’d write the things I’ve learned about taper.

1.  Tapering makes me feel fat.

I’m not saying I am fat, but let’s face it. I’ve gained weight during marathon training. Five years ago, I lost 25lbs and now I’ve gained 15lbs back. Not all of that is from training and I know it’s my fault but tapering really puts a new spin on making you feel like shit. Usually I can go for an hour run or do some Crossfit and I’ll start feeling pretty good again. Now I can’t do that. I’m not fishing for compliments here and don’t want them, I’m just stating a fact: I’m heavier, I can see it in the mirror, I can feel it in my tight pants, I can feel it in my running speed, and it really effects how I feel about myself. During taper, I can’t do much about it.

2.  Tapering makes me feel lazy.

You know what I do when I can’t keep my normal workout schedule? I sit on the couch, do nothing, get depressed, and eat. This is directly related to #1 of course. I want to work out but I don’t want to screw with the training plan when I’ve never run a marathon before. Some people love the laziness of taper, some people don’t need to taper at all, and some people think full marathons are for crazy people but I’m learning what works for me as I go. I really want to make Savannah a great experience and I don’t want to do anything that might ruin that. At least I know someone else is going crazy with me.

3.  Tapering makes me feel weaker.

Not only do I feel like I’m losing muscle because I’m not strength training as much, I feel like I’m losing my running ability from not running as much. I realize taper should have the opposite effect, but I worry about losing what I took so long to built up come race day.

So there you have it. Yeah, I’m freaking out a little bit. Maybe I’ve shed a couple crazy-lady tears. But I really am looking forward to Savannah. More than that, I’m looking forward to running shorter distances at faster paces and getting my half-marathon on again afterwards. And last but not least, I can’t wait to plow into some strength training and get my muscles back.

One more week till Savannah!

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Comments

  1. Michelle says

    LOL – where the hell did you get those cat pictures???

    I’m pretty much convinced that my leg is going to fall off before Savannah my calf hurts so much. I NEED to run. When did I become a running zombie?

  2. Jenny says

    You’re going to be fine, Paula! I think we all go through a freak out period before our first marathon. You’ve worked hard to get where you are and you will rock your marathon. :) No doubt. One week to go!! Eeeee!

  3. Genghis Ron says

    You did a *lot* of stuff you didn’t want to do for this marathon–early wake ups for long runs, not drinking the night before long runs, crapping at 7-11 during long runs–and tapering is just something else you can add to the list. You’re gonna kill ‘em in Savannah.

  4. Melissa says

    I can’t even imagine tapering for a marathon. I’m crazy even when I am running, and on my rest days, I’m extra crazy so…. Yeah. Maybe you should get drunk and go dancing. Seems like a reasonable solution to me. :)

  5. Michelle says

    Ha. De-lurking because I heart this post so much. I’m running NYC on Sunday and it’s my first full and I am feeling everything above. I feel fat and lazy and like my legs will be bricks on Sunday! You’re not alone!

    • Paula says

      I actually tapered for 3 weeks for Savannah. I had a long run (20 miles or so), then dropped the mileage each week until the last week where I didn’t run at all. Normally for half marathons, I don’t taper but if you don’t run that mileage on a normal basis, I would suggest tapering for a week or a week and a half depending on your fitness level.

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