The taper is something that should be looked at as a time of rest and relief. For marathons, it's the two-three weeks before race day where the mileage & work load does just that...tapers down so that by race week you are doing just enough to stay loose & not get antsy legs. This allows your body to recover and ready itself for the actual race day. Sounds great...
I despise the taper. For me, while I understand it's purpose, and I do follow it diligently in any of my races, it's my least favorite part of running training. It's like an ego blow for me mentally and physically.
Physically, with all the rest and recovery, I actually start to feel worse. Everything is even tighter than when I was at my peak mileage. I am so exhausted. I actually crawled into bed one night at 8:30...it was Saturday! I slept 10 hours and woke up feeling no different.
Mentally, every doubt in my head races around. Three weeks ago just before the taper during my last 20 miler, I'm high as a kite...I want to run the race tomorrow. I am so ready & just want it done.
Then, during the taper, all the insecurities surface...did I do enough? Did I challenge myself enough? Maybe I worked too hard. I should have been keeping up with my weight training. Why didn't I take up yoga on my rest days? I should have bought the other model of shoes. And why does it feel like running 3 miles is impossible, when running 20 had me floating on air?
But it never fails...I follow the taper, I toe up at the line race day, and it all pays off. I'm always ready. For me, it's the thing I like least about training, but I want to know I did everything possible to set myself up for success...and that includes the taper...
- What started as a little experiment in blogging has evolved into my renewed love for writing the raw, gritty truth. Running has always had so many parallels to life's ups and downs. As a new cancer survivor/fighter, running and writing has continued to be there for me in my quest to always move forward, always try to be better than yesterday. Find me: http://www.curetoday.com/community/kate or on facebook: running, cancer, and everything in between or on twitter: runliftbreathe