Monday, 14 October 2013

Taper Time Tips

I recently read this incredibly true article from Runners World about pre race anxiety and tapering.

On Saturday I ran my longest distance for my training plan, 35kms. I had an awesome friend who lent me her Garmin for the run, which I just LOVED!

It actually was 35kms, I just had forgotten to un-pause the watch after a toilet stop... Oops!
The exciting thing about doing your longest run in your training is that once it is done it means it is time for the taper. For non runners (or runners who haven't cottoned on to the lingo yet) the taper is the couple of weeks before the marathon where your running distances get less and less. The purpose of the taper, as mentioned in the above article is:
The value of scaling back—muscle fibers heal, extra glycogen (or fuel) is stored, the immune system rebounds.
It's generally 2-3 weeks leading up to the marathon where you want to slowly be decreasing mileage. So over the next 3 weeks I will still be doing my 3 key runs, just shorter distances. Yay!

Although taper time can be exciting, what else can tend to happen during taper time, as also mentioned in the article, is as follows:
Ask runners what the most challenging part of training is, and many will say the taper. Indeed, anxiety, panic, and crankiness often come along with decreased mileage leading up to a race. Olympic Marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson called it "PMS: Pre-Marathon Syndrome."  When you've grown accustomed to pushing hard and enjoying the endorphin buzz that follows, tapering can make you feel like an addict going through withdrawal.
Too true! I think it's hilarious how it is called "PMS" - this is spot on! I find the taper time exciting as it means I have done all the hard work and now I am on the downhill slope to my final goal, however I also find it hard. Since I have just done almost 4 months of training I am feeling at my fittest, my best. So to scale down the running when I am finally feeling like I am just sooo ready for this is tough! It is something that I have to tell myself often is 'for the best for my body and mind'. So please excuse me if I am a little PMS-ish over the next 3 weeks, I am tapering!

The things I often tend to do during my taper are all the things this article tells you not to:
Don't: Unleash the crazy on others - GUILTY (Sorry Tim!)
Don't: Spend your downtime fixating on one ambitious, stress-inducing goal - GUILTY
Don't: Eat, breathe, sleep running - GUILTY
Don't: Binge on carbs - OK, so I'm not too guilty of this one but the temptation is always there!
If you tend to be like me and go a bit cray cray during taper time, read this article to find out how to fix these don'ts.

 Do you go a bit cray cray during taper time? 

Do you enjoy tapering? 

Are you guilty of any of these things?

1 comment:

  1. That's great you've reached this stage feeling fit and injury free!
    I'm running the half, so start my taper next week. I haven't done one yet, so thanks for the warning!
    I hope you enjoy yours and that it's not too PMS'y!


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