Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

Confessions of a Novice Runner #1 - Tapering

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tapering, per Runners World, "is reducing the level and intensity of workouts so you get to the starting line ready to run." According to one of my coaches, it allows the muscles to heal completely so that you will be ready to not only run the distance, but also run faster. Well, that sounds reasonable and hell, getting a break from all the miles you pack on each week is a bonus...at least I think it is. I don't know why I keep hearing people complaining about the taper. What could the big deal be? Seriously, I have done nothing but scoff at those that expressed any level of fear or disdain for tapering. 

and then it was my turn...and now I get it.

Ok...first of all, there is the seriously reduced level of running. Sounds great but then your head gets involved - Have I ran enough? Have I trained enough? Oh my God, I'm going to lose muscle strength. Oh no, I'm going to gain weight. How am I going to finish the race??!! 

Quick tip: Do not go on a google frenzy for information on tapering. You will end up in a panic about HOW you are tapering because there are a million different articles that offer advice about how to do it, what you should be doing, what you should not be doing, how many miles to run, what activities to do, what to eat, what not to eat...etc. I would suggest getting a training plan from a local running club and follow it.

Then there is the reduced level of cross training because you don't want to do anything that is going to cause serious muscle fatigue. Well, there goes those strength training classes I had scheduled. I already know from last weeks misadventure that I would encounter a substantial amount of muscle fatigue - did I mention that I had to wear button down shirts for two days because I couldn't raise my arms up high enough to pull anything over my head? Sad, I know, but the point is...those classes are pushed to post race. 

Then there are the sick people. I laughed when my friend Sandy from So What I Run wrote about all the sick people and needing to be put into a bubble. Well, ya know what, Sandy - YOU ARE SO RIGHT.  For real...I think there is this thing that shall hence forth be known as the "Taper Magnet" that just draws sick people into your personal space. Of course, my paranoia dramatically increased last night when another one of my friends ran into me at a local pub and said, "oh my god...what are you doing out in public...YOU ARE TAPERING?!?!!"  

Oh...and guess where I had to go this morning?  The Doctor...for my annual physical. Yep...the doctor's office...germ central. I practically bathed in hand sanitizer on my way out. 

OMG...and if this is what a half is like...what will a full be like? 

What does not kill me, makes me a runner. Now someone pass me a cup cake and a can of Lysol. 

6 comments on "Confessions of a Novice Runner #1 - Tapering"
  1. Just keep up with washing your hands and you'll be fine. ;-)

    And use real soap and water, not that germ killer junk!!

  2. Shinianen - You are so right!!

  3. I didn't mind the taper when I was training for my marathon except that I caught a cold because my body was feeling too rested :)
    It totally helped, though, I ran the entire marathon and felt great afterward!
    I also gave up cross training the week before the marathon for your exact reasons, I didn't want tired muscles.
    Great info, thanks!

  4. I'm always paranoid before a race about germs and sick people:) With due cause as I've sadly run more marathons with a cold or flu in the past 2 years than not.. But like you said, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger:)
    Good luck with your upcoming race!!!!

  5. Very funny...I thought this was going to be the usual post about tapering...mood swings, irritability etc etc....and then you tapped right into my pre-race obsession. Where did all the sick people come from? Tomorrow I'm running a marathon and as I type there are germ laden zombies hammering at my doors and windows trying to come in and get me...ok, well maybe not but it certainly feels that way :)

  6. GOod luck on your race - I couldn't read too much because you started making me nervous!!!