This is my favorite time of the training season - the Taper. So, I’ll recycle one of my favorite Monday Motivators, because it usually applies if this is your first taper or your thirtieth.
Taper, Sweet Taper
For many folks last weekend you did your longest run as you prepare for Bayshore. And then it’s taper time! Time to take a break from the long runs and let your body recover from the last few months of increasing mileage. There really is a science to the taper. And yes, it does work. As long as you can survive it!
It’s when your body says “Thank goodness we’re done with that crazy stuff and we can get back to reality.”
It’s also when you start obsessing. Obsessing about what you ask? Everything.
First it starts out with all the little aches and pains that suddenly show up.
Then moves to the first run/walk into the taper which is usually awful.
Two or three miles is torture.
You wonder what the heck? I just finished my long run/walk and I can’t do a measly little three miles? How in the world am I going to accomplish my goal when I can’t even do a 5K? Don’t worry the next time out will be much better.
Then you start obsessing about getting hurt.
Nope. Can’t ride my bike. Might crash.
Nope. Can’t bungy jump - I’m not that stupid.
Walk around the block? Sure, watching every nook and cranny to avoid a trip and fall.
Ten days out, your focus moves to the weather. It’d probably be earlier, but those darn weather forecasters won’t make their guesses any earlier. Once you’ve got the weather bookmarked, you check it every couple hours. Just in case it might change - ten days from now.
By now your family and co-workers are ready to strangle you. You’ve got tons of extra energy since you haven’t been running/walking those long miles. They claim you are like the Energizer Bunny who drank waaaay too much caffeine.
You can’t focus.
You’re functioning in hyper-drive.
It’s impossible to think about anything other than your event.
The good news is, you have lots of energy to accomplish all those household chores you’ve put off for the last three months.
Then, as the days draw nearer, you start the planning. You know every word on the event web site. You start to make lists of what to wear. Where to park. What to bring. What to eat. You check the weather again. You check your registration again. You put your clothes in piles. Check the batteries in the watch/Garmin. Check the weather again. Hmmm…is my knee hurting?
You begin to have self-doubts.
How are you really going to do this?
What was I thinking?
How could I be so silly to agree to do this?
I paid money for this?
Then the ‘I shoulda’s’ start.
I should’a done speedwork.
I should’a done more miles. Less miles. Core exercises. You wonder more and more about your ability to complete your race.
You check the weather again.
You wonder about that weird pain in your foot. And you still have days to go.
You have nightmares and day dreams. Your event encompasses all your thoughts.
Normal? You bet! It’s all part of the taper.
Sit back and relax.
You’ll be golden come race day. In the meantime. Enjoy the sweet, well-deserved taper!