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?