It seems all of my experienced marathoner friends have lamented their feelings about tapering since I started training for my own marathon back in April.
“Tapering sucks. You’ll want to run more.”
“Tapering sucks. You’ll convince yourself you’re injured every day.”
“Tapering sucks. You get really antsy.”
“Tapering sucks. You’re so lazy.”
I’m only through one week of my planned three-week taper period, but so far I’m surviving OK.
I’m sure I’ll start freaking out completely starting, oh, tomorrow. But today I’m feeling calm. I’m feeling prepared. I’m feeling good.
It helps that I have a Handsome Friend to entertain me.
Do you want to see him? I know you haven’t all officially met yet…
There he is!
He’s cute, right?
So, the Hamptons Marathon is now less than two weeks away. Holy Hell. I’m doing my very best to listen to everything Coach Cane says and not attempt to go above and beyond. He is smart. I am not. I repeat that to myself daily.
I can’t exactly say I’ve survived my marathon taper yet because there’s still lots of time remaining. But here’s what I’ve done so far that’s helped me not go crazy about wanting to run more, eat more and question my preparedness:
- Stay busy. My calendar has been jam-packed since September began, and that’s a great thing. I thought I would want to avoid all plans leading up to race day, but why? That just gives me more time to be all paranoid and skitzo.
- Surround yourself with people who understand. When I declared that I was “quitting” drinking for the three weeks before the race, some of my friends just didn’t get it. “Why?” most people asked. “Boo, you can have one drink,” others said. No no. I don’t want to. And I know that having a booze-less system will only help me the day of the marathon. By spending most of my time with runner friends and fabulously supportive people who understand what I’ve been working toward, I find that I have to explain myself less and less.
- See your family. Going to Boston was great this weekend for many reasons, but it was especially nice just being around people I love and relaxing with them. I never felt any pressure all weekend. I was just really, really happy.
- Seek advice. I’m obsessed with reading marathon recaps and begging for advice from my favorite marathon runners. I’m trying to be like a sponge so I can absorb all the information they throw at me. Most people keep reminding me not to go out too fast. Noted. That is my weakness. Crap.
- Embrace sleeping in! Not having to run this morning (though I never run on Mondays — I cross train — but whatever, go with me here) meant I could lay in bed until 7 am. OK, 7:19. Oops. I never lay around in bed, and this morning I did, and it was fantastic. Bonus points if you have good company. (See photo above.)
- Do everything you haven’t done for the past four months. Last night I had time to grocery shop, do laundry, cook dinner (false, someone else did the cooking, but I stood around and watched) and run errands. Less time running means more time for productivity.
- Continue eating like you have been throughout training. It’s so fun. Oh, I didn’t run 20 miles this morning? Welp, still going to eat nine meals throughout the day. Plus desserts. And snacks. My body will be nice and nourished for 26.2 miles. (This is not Coach-approved advice. I just love to eat.)
- Pick your race day outfit. I haven’t done this yet.
- Create your race day playlist. I haven’t done this yet.
- Make the focus about someone else. Yeah, I’ve been pretty selfish for the past few months. I chose to run a marathon for myself. So I made that my first priority. In no way do I regret a single decision I’ve made during training. I’ve still made time for my friends and family and I’ve actually felt pretty balanced despite all the nonstop running. But this week is about someone else: my coworker! She started running recently and signed up for the Fitness 4-mile race in Central Park this weekend. I’m going to be running it with her and I’m so excited for her to run her first race. I hope she gets addicted. And I plan to spend the entire week showering her with love, attention and advice like “Here’s how to negative split” (obvious joke) so she feels ready for her big race. Since the race is a week out from my own race, I have no intentions of racing it or setting a PR of any kind. I’m just excited to see someone else into running! It’s the best.
THOSE ARE MY TAPER SURVIVAL TIPS: What are yours?