This weekend they finally got to me. I avoided them for two weeks, but they came in full force on Saturday. The taper crazies.
The thoughts, worries and nerves about race day. The physical restlessness and extra energy that you don’t know what to do with. It’s real. I knew it was real from personal experience, but it’s very easy to forget this feeling. During the peak of training it seems crazy to not crave some down time. Who wouldn’t want to take it easy for a few weeks? But in the tail-end of my taper, taking it easy is something I’m struggling with- mentally and physically.
I’ve kept to my schedule and followed the prescribed short, easy runs (which this week are practically non-existent). I haven’t supplemented my lack of running with other workouts and everything else has been normal. But keeping it easy hasn’t been easy. My body is incredibly anxious and all I want to do is move around. Funny how this feeling doesn’t pop up during a random training week when I could have used the extra energy….
But I guess it makes sense. After following a routine for so long it feels weird to “break” it. My body got used to a schedule and I’ve just thrown it for a loop. (I now understand that in order to see “results” in the gym, you need to change-up your workouts every few weeks. Our bodies really do get comfortable). I’ve had a hard time sitting still and can’t even just sit and watch a TV show without having to do something else (<- I feel weird saying that. I’m usually a pro at being lazy). While, compression socks have helped my legs calm down a lot, an external fix can only do so much.
Mentally speaking, I am feeling the typical pre-race nerves. As with most things that have a big build-up, I tend to over think the situation. Did I prepare enough? Am I taking the taper too easy? What if my stomach hurts during the race? While all normal worries that could occur at any time, I feel like they are amplified during taper. I have these worries randomly throughout my day, which is a first for me. Before the taper started I was done thinking about running as soon as I ended my workout. This week it has taken over my life.
I think I didn’t go as “crazy” during my first marathon taper because the taper was during Christmas break (Christmas, my birthday, New Year’s are all within six days), so there were lots of other things to keep me occupied. Lately I’ve read other blog posts about tapering because it’s very reassuring to know that what I’m going through is completely standard.
It also reminds me of some tactics for taming the crazies. A few of my favorites:
-Do something with your extra energy, but don’t go crazy. I cleaned my room for the first time in a looooong time this past weekend. I wasn’t exerting tons of energy but it kept my body busy and productive.
-Hydrate. Starting now. It can help with taming restless leg, too.
-Yoga. Stretch. Stay limber.
-Reflect on your training. Remind yourself that you did run 20 miles a few weeks ago and it wasn’t just a dream. You are ready.
-Rest. Easier said than done, obviously. I’ve been trying to go to bed a few minutes earlier than my already early bedtime.
-Journal. Write how you are feeling now, write about your worries and race goals. Sometimes getting your nerves out on paper can help.
As for race “goals,” that’s another topic for tomorrow…
Tell me your taper crazy story…
How do you deal with nerves in general?
Tina Muir says
Great tips here! I think the writing in the journal is especially helpful. I also think its good to see family and friends, go out to eat and get your mind off the race :)
Spending time with friends and even talking to ones over the phone has helped me relax a lot.
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
I bet it is super hard to just cut back on something you have been doing and working so hard at for so many months! Take it easy my friend, it will all be worth it ;)
I know it will be :)
After racing Marine Corps on Saturday, I just went through the taper madness. It was a bit weird for me this time though, because I did not miss the running and actually enjoyed having more rest days. Going out with friends and spending time with Tom watching Homeland Season 3 helped pass some time when I was getting restless.
Funny, during my last marathon taper I discovered Homeland! I’ve been trying to enjoy this time and spending more time with friends has helped!
Always on the same wavelength. Always. I hated taper. I used to “break” taper in swimming (aka my coach would see me walking to get bagels downtown instead of driving the 1/2 mile). It really does make you crazy, but if you follow it the way you’re supposed to, it is SO effective. Like I used to cut off ridiculous amounts of time that no experienced swimmer should be dropping. So I promise you it will be worth it, even if it is REALLY REALLY hard to take it easy :)
I would totally do something like that. I had to remind myself today that I probably shouldn’t walk up 5 flights of steps and that using the elevator isn’t bad. I can only hope my taper is as effective as yours was with swimming!
OOOHhhhh that good ole taper time. I think that it as as much a test of your training as the training itself, sometimes, but for others it is so easy (or maybe they are just lying, ahah.) One of the ways that I have dealt with the dreaded taper is thinking about how I am “banking” the miles for my race day. Like how the miles that I am taking off are going into a positive bank balance that I get to splurge on!
I love the mindset of “banking” miles! Totally adopting that ;)
I liked taper physically-mentally I was a wreck. This year I got sick so all I did was be forced to rest. Try cooking meals, catching up on TV shows, and sleeping in!
Sleeping in has made me a new person this week- ha! Even if I technically don’t “sleep in” (aka 6:30ish), just staying in bed and not having to do anything right away has been nice.
Linda @ The Fitty says
What you can do is spend the extra energy cleaning up the house and doing some chores, you know? That way you can be extra productive.
That’s exactly what I did! And my room looks much better now :)
Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet says
I’ve never had a true taper – I’ve always gotten sick the week before and had to completely rest rather than do any activity. I find binge-watching a new show helps (I just got really into The Walking Dead in between training cycles). Cleaning is always good too – I feel so productive afterwards, but it’s hard to make the time to do it during peak training.
Binge-watching Netflix solves so many problems. But really, it’s always a good stress relief. Yes, I felt so productive after I cleaned my room…small feat, but it needed it!