I don’t know that I have any particular tapering quirks anymore (other than OVER tapering and avoiding running all together during “taper” time) but that’s definitely been a work in progress. My big taper anxieties have always been wondering if I was undertrained or ready for the race and dealing with lots of phantoms aches and pains that show up during taper time. During my first taper (and in every one thereafter) I had this weird new knee pain that had me panicking about injury, but it ended up being nothing by the time race day came around. Now I’m used to that and when my knee started hurting walking into work today, I greeted it as a familiar taper quirk and didn’t worry any more about it.
Now, I deal with taper time worries by reminding myself of a few things:
- I’ve worked hard and put in lots of miles. I look back at my weekly wrap ups and notes in my training log (when I remember to make them!) to remind myself of all of the miles I’ve put in. As I get closer and closer to race day this week, I keep reminding myself about those back to back 11 mile workouts a couple of weeks ago. If I could do those, I can definitely do back to back half marathons if I’m smart about it.
- The cake is already in the oven. I’ve done the training. Extra long or hard workouts at this point won’t add anything to my fitness but will increase my risk of injury. Be smart and don’t push it.
- Ignore the phantom aches and pains. If it gets better when you stop thinking about it, it might just be your mind playing with you. Of course, if there’s pain that is getting worse or hindering your ability to walk/run, get that checked out but for me, these pains usually goes away when I stop worrying about it. Reminding myself that I’ve been through this before is a key survival strategy.
- Do you things you CAN do to support your race. It feels like you’re doing a whole lot of nothing during taper time. Focusing on the things you can actually be working on helps tremendously. Hydrate, rest, stretch/foam roll and eat healthy foods to fuel your race.
I expect that my marathon taper will bring a whole new level of crazy and anxiety. I’ll have to come back and re-read this to remind myself of what I should do!
How do you handle taper time?