Ahhh….it's here. The taper. Remember last year when I kept getting caught running during the taper? Oh and I kept complaining about not being allowed to freely run more than 3.5 miles in peace? Yeah, I'm totes doing that again this year. Basically teetering on the rules and complaining about this dumb taper. Such a love/hate relationship.
So…let's talk about the taper.
Here's the deal. It's hard. You're all jacked up and ready to run and ready to try and kill your race so you can post that shiz on the Insta, take your ice bath and really, just take a big fat nap and eat some chips and queso and be done with it all. Oh and post the chips and queso on the Insta too…. (ps- Am I predictable or what!?…I'm almost bored myself! yawn…zzz….)
But the taper rules are all serious and strict. You get scared and anxious and somehow convince yourself that you're going to get a stress fracture in all four limbs plus a concussion if you go one mile over your training plan during taper. But then you do because you're a nut job like me. And really, it's just a big crazy mind game and you just want the marathon here.
I can't deny that I break a couple taper rules.
However, this is what seems to work for me.
1. Food. Our bodies are used to burning a ton 'o calories from all of this running. Suddenly, we simmer down on the running but the appetite doesn't. It's a hard balance to maintain but I try really to be consciencous on healthy food choices during the taper. It's easier to be lax when you're running a zillion miles a week but it's a little different when you've still got the same appetite but aren't burning near the calories. I typically go into a marathon a little heavier than my non-training weight. Interesting, no? About two weeks post marathon, it's gone. Whoever said marathoning makes ya skinny is lying. It must be those same people that say they forget to eat.
2. Vizualize. It sounds hokey but I'm a huge believer. Take the time to visualize how you want to feel during the race. How do you want to feel at the finish line? Visualize yourself AT the finish line crushing your goal. If you're healthy and have put in the training time, the choice is yours. It is.
3. Get your affairs in order. Make sure you're running shoes have low mileage on them, yet they're truly broken in. I prefer about 30-40 miles on my race day shoes. Make sure you're fully stocked on gels or your fuel of choice. Start stalking the weather, figure out your outfit, figure out the logisitics of race day. I'm serious. The last thing you want to be worrying about on marathon-eve is where you're parking or where you're meeting your friend from high school who is randomly in town to run the race. Trust me. We have the logistics planned out days if not weeks in advance.
4. Live your life. If there is something fun that I wanna do during taper, I do it. Remember last year when I had my 20 year high school reunion practically the night before? Yeah, this year, I'm throwing not one but TWO birthday parties the weekend of the marathon. That's just how I roll and really, it's all good. If I sit around too much, it's almost like I lose my marathon nerve, if that makes sense. And really, that's no bueno for me.
5. Run! Don't go crazytown but if you feel like running, go for a run. Not a 20 mile run and don't go clocking 5 minute miles…but run. Keep the legs moving. I won't run the day before but I almsot always run a few miles the Friday before. It's kinda my ritual.
So yeah, the taper. It's here. Love it or hate it, it's all part of the marathon shenans.