Tapering: Shortening the length and frequency of runs and workouts, in the 1-2 weeks immediately preceding a long-distance event, such as a marathon or ultra race, to enable the body to recuperate from an increased workout schedule, in preparation for the main event.
There was a time when I could directly measure my stress level, based on how long it had been since my last run. And, there was a time in my life when I could go up to a certain number of days between runs. Let’s face it, we all have busy schedules, and for me it was a constant struggle of “finding” the time to get in a run.
In recent months, my workout schedule has increased tremendously, to the point where I have a hard time visualizing going more than 1 rest day in between runs. I’ve learned it’s about making time for myself, and as a result, how that time is directly paying off: Lowered stress, happier demeanor, and a healthier outlook to name but a few benefits.
Now enter the past week of considerable tapering before this Sunday’s marathon. The first one I’ll ever have run. I’ve never been through a taper before but I can tell you, I don’t like it. Something doesn’t feel right. I do have nerves and they are rattled, and yet, I can’t get them out on the road like I was doing a week ago.
This is the past two weeks of tapering looks like. It includes two of my longest-ever runs, intermixed with decreasing individual runs. The output is from MapMyRun. I added the dotted red line to show the overall trend:
You can see the gradual buildup and the steeper decline. No one tells you that the decline portion is more challenging than simply continuing the buildup. On October 4, the dotted line and blue bar will spike to the longest-ever run of my life.
There is a silver lining to this: My right inner ankle is still a bit tender and the fewer miles put on the road are helping me heal. But that’s just my ankle. The rest of me is increasingly agitated, to the point where you might think I’m a smoker who just quit, cold turkey. I’m nervous, twitchy, apprehensive, a bit aggressive, and tired but without the physical exertion to show for it.
I find myself able to focus more on work now than in a long while, and I have the productivity to show for it. I know Sunday is drawing near and I have a good feeling it’s going to be fun, safe, and successful. But at just 6 miles clocked in this week, another 4 planned for today, and 2 on Friday… 12 miles is not enough for the crazy energy I have going on right now.
And don’t even get me started on all the tapering tips that say, “Hey! You might even put on a few pounds this week due to not running as much”… As if I needed more bad news.
Augh.. it’s getting to me a bit. And this, I guess, is how it goes.
Sunday can’t come fast enough. 😉