I’m Ready To Taper


It’s been a while.

You know what was awesome about the Thanksgiving break? Spending time with my family and not feeling the need to document every minute of my trip. I love blogging, but this weekend I also really loved not blogging.

I kept plenty busy while I was in New Hampshire.

I Turkey Trotted and snagged a 5K PR, clocking in at 23:06, which is a 7:27 pace.

Mom, don't be mad I'm posting this photo. Your camera died, so my picture options are limited. And I think you look cute.

I came in 46th place overall (out of 343), 5th in my division (out of 39) and I was the 11th female finisher out of 199.

I spent the rest of the day on Thanksgiving eating. A lot.

Just a little feast for three.

And I kind of helped carve the turkey.

My dad said, "OK, Alison, carve the turkey," and I was like, "No, but I will eat it."

I gave up very quickly. I’m better at eating than helping.

I took many naps. I drank a few glasses of wine. I went running in the snow.

And now it's 60 degrees... Go figure.

On Friday I ran 5.5 accidentally fast miles, on Saturday I ran 6 very very slow and painful miles and on Sunday I ran 5 really really really slow miles.

I also went to the local planetarium with my parents. Because why not? We got to pretend we were weather people…

This is me, talking about a noreaster. I am not so good at reading from a Teleprompter.

…and some of us got a little too excited about it.


On Friday evening we had a visitor: Brian! We ran together Saturday morning and I showed him all the great Contoocook, NH, sights, like the covered bridges and the apple orchard and the dump. It was all very thrilling for him I’m sure.

I also got a haircut. The hairdresser man sat me down and said, “Oh my God, honey, when was your last haircut?” I told him it was in early May. He didn’t understand that I’d rather spend my money on new Adrenalines.

But now my hair looks healthy again.

Freshly cut hair!

And my face is all Steroidy. Hey cheeks! Stop being so puffy!

I flew back to NYC early Sunday morning and spent the day running, shopping and decorating my apartment for the holidays. It is all very festive. I sang many Christmas carols during the process. Brian does not agree that I have the voice of an angel, but I think he’ll come around.

Brian, are you going to be mad that I'm posting this photo? Thanks for posing with my new candles and snowman pillows. You look very holiday-esque.

And that brings us to today: the Monday before Race Day.

Holy crap am I ready to taper!

My mileage hasn’t been anything outstanding lately and I’ve done some speedwork, including running two races in the past two weeks, but my legs feel totally shot. This morning I woke up with no desire to run, and that never happens. When I was running yesterday, I kept wondering if someone had secretly filled my legs up with lead when I wasn’t looking. Needless to say it wasn’t my quickest jaunt on the Bridle Path. It was really pretty though!

This is nice.

The Vegas Half Marathon is on Sunday, so this week I’m taking it easy. I’ll run and I’ll go to the gym, but I’m not pushing anything. No speed. No big distances.

I keep thinking about what Coach Cane and Mrs. Coach Cane told me throughout marathon training: “You want to go into the race like a caged animal.”

I look like a caged animal, right? Totally ready to run.


As with any pre-race week, I want to eat well, stay hydrated and avoid sick people. I swear, if someone shows up at my office being like, “OMG I got so sick over Thanksgiving but I’m such a hero and I’m at work anyway,” that person is getting a swift kick to the throat. And then I will politely ask him or her to head home.

I really don’t want to get sick. I don’t think taking violent, ninja-like precautions is “going too far.”

I’m also trying to do some visualization. I’m admittedly very nervous about this race. I want to PR, and that means maintaining a fast pace (by my standards) for 13.1 miles. I know there will be points during the race when I feel tired and there will be points where I feel like I can’t keep going. I’m trying to combat those potential occurrences now, but telling myself not to be a little bitch.


But I’m also visualizing the tough parts of the race and “picturing myself overcoming them,” which is what Mrs. Coach Cane advocates.

So if you need me this week, I’ll be foam rolling, running slowly, sleeping and picturing myself speeding past a herd of running Elvis impersonators. I just feel like that’s what’s going to happen in the final stretch of the race…I’m going to run past some Elvi.

I hope everyone had a relaxing, wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ve missed you.

AND ALSO IT WOULD BE NICE IF YOU’D SHARE: What are your must-do taper activities? I wasn’t excited to taper for the Hamptons Marathon, but I’m excited for the next few days. It’ll be nice to cut back on the intensity and let my body recover before I beat it to the ground on Sunday. What do you do during taper time?



0 Responses

  1. So, I was wrong… My Turkey Trot wasn’t in Bow at all–it was in Merrimack. Haha. I totally don’t know New Hampshire geography, but the run with the BF’s fam was equally as black-ice-filled as where you were, but also fun! Glad you had a great turkey day, and good luck in Vegas!!

  2. Wow, how did you manage to keep your balance on that snow? I always have to resort to a treadmill in icy conditions, which I hate, despite using YakTrax outside. I wish I had your ability to run in freezing temperatures!

    With those skills, tapering should be a breeze 😉


  3. Sorry I’m a little late here but I’m just now catching up on your blog. Sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the fam! Jealous that you got to run so much. I was pretty lazy!

    Taper time for me means scaling back on my mileage, chilling out a bit with the cross-training, getting some good rest, and just getting mentally focused for the race more than anything. With half marathons I don’t think they require as much of a taper as the full (like Coach Cane said) since you have already built up enough of a base…so you should be fine. Just enjoy your week, stay hydrated and relax…and you will be a caged animal come race day for sure! 🙂

  4. Yay for race week!! I usually run very little the week before…get a massage…start eating more calories from carbs (my favorite part!), no alcohol…I focus on drinking a lot of water…and I also like to read motivational quotes/blogs to make sure my head is in the right place. Don’t let “taper madness” get to you! (I actually had to rest completely two weeks before one marathon because an injury had been bothering me…it was brutal and nerve-wracking. I was definitely a caged animal that day. But I did PR even after resting so much!) GOOD LUCK!!

  5. Hiya! I love foam rolling. What did people ever do before them!!? I also use a tennis ball for deep glute massage… ow… but worth it.

    On race day morning, if I am at home I like to pop on a little ‘without limits’ dvd or ‘spirit of the marathon’… both make you want to get out and there are run HARD! 🙂

    well done on your 5km pb 🙂

  6. I am not a good taper person. I haven’t done enough races to have a hard and fast rule.

    I just wanted to say that I love Coach Cane and mrs. Coach Cane’s sage racing advice!

    I have no doubt that you will be clocking a PR!

  7. OMG my legs always feel so heavy and slow in my last few runs before a race!! I think it is mental for me and then somehow they are miraculously fine on race day. You are going to be awesome and I love Mrs. Coach Cane’s “caged animal” theory. During taper, I usually like to read obsessively about the race I’m running and google inspirational quotes and images to get me pumped! Good luck!! Beat all those ELVI!

  8. Ok, so I totally just realized that my first race (which will be a very slow race since I only started last month) in February, which is a 10K, is SO TOTALLY HILLY! There’s a GIANT incline at the beginning! How am I even going to do this Ali? HOW????

  9. My favorite thing about tapering? Being able to use that time for FUN things! Stay up a little later because you don’t have to run, see friends, eat a lot of carbs, enjoy the couch! Its a nice break and great for your mental state before the race! Good luck!

  10. My go-to move during taper is taking off the day before the race. I know some people like to jog a few shake out miles (that’s cool too), but not running for a day or so always leaves me full of energy and excitement for race day. I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOUR RACE!!! I am also more than a little jealous that you’ll be in Vegas for the weekend. Can I fit in your carry-on?

  11. try to sleep in a little bit! I guess that would be my favorite activity though I’m not too great at it. and make sure you’re eating well. I can’t believe how much snow you had up there!! And, I’m sad I probably won’t see you before Vegas to wish you luck. I miss you!!!

  12. Your hair looks so shiny and pretty. And you look gorgeous in that little weather girl pic! Have you missed your calling? I like to take in a good kickboxing class during taper. It gives me motivation to kick a** during the race!

  13. Must do taper activity – SLEEP! When I tapered for my first marathon, I decided that I would be in bed every night by 9. The husband was super helpful with forcing me to shut off the computer. The extra sleep helped so much!

    I had the same experience with singing this weekend. I was told to let Josh Groban handle it. I disagree. I think he would like a duet.

  14. I have a really hard time tapering! I usually bake cookies (it’s relaxing!) and go to yoga if I can. The beauty is that you can eat lots of cookies and not really feel bad because you know you’ve got a killer race coming up! A massage the Monday before the race is definitely ideal also.

  15. I have no idea how to taper. I mean I KNOW how, but I feel like I just can’t do it. I’m going to have to re-read all of your blog posts during every race you’ve tapered so I don’t mess up the marathon in May. Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving!!! And I’m quite sure you have the voice of an angel… though most dancers can’t sing too. Which is sad, becasue then I would totally be on Broadway by now… and be famous. And then dancing with the stars would have be on and I would win the Mirrorball trophy. Sorry, let you into my crazy head for a minute.

  16. Awesome job on your new 5K PR! That is exciting! My goal is to sub-24 minutes next time I run a 5K…too bad I don’t know when that will be!
    I know you are going to do just awesome in Vegas! Keep thinking good thoughts girl!

  17. Run errands, specifically to CVS. I can waste an hour in CVS, easily.

    Before NYC, I wrote a letter to myself about how I wanted to feel after the race and visualized and wrote down stuff whenever I got nervous. I ended up being all for naught, but I like to think it would’ve helped if my leg hadn’t staged a mutiny.

    Love the Christmas pillows, fyi.

  18. I get a massage during taper week….usually a few days before the race so that there is time for all that lactic acid to get out of my muscles.

    And I agree…during the holidays it’s nice to not blog.

  19. During taper week, I increase my salf intake slightly. I feel like it helps with reserves during the race. I also just enjoy waking up at my normal early time and visualizing the race in lieu of running. Enjoy!

  20. Disconnecting feels so good!! Also, I think we’re on the same haircut schedule. I’m getting mine cut this week and it will be my 2nd haircut of the year. Its obviously running shoes > haircuts.

  21. Sounds like a perfect weekend! I loved being able to run outside TWICE and not feel freezing or scared to run outside, finally. Of course, my mind will change when it gets cold again this week, but I’ll take what I can get. I can’t believe your half is so soon!!! You will of course, rock it, I know it.

  22. During taper week I like to run w/o my garmin and w/o music. It helps me to slow down & not worry about my pace. I wear a stop watch so I know the time, but other than that I’m electronic free. It’s kind of freeing. Other than that I just enjoy the nothingness of taper-time.

  23. SO with you on disconnecting this weekend. I loved not blogging. I really did!

    As for this race (which I can’t believe is already this weekend!); you’ve run a freakin’ marathon, this half marathon has NOTHING on you. Just remember that. Use it to empower you through every last second of those 13.1 miles. You can own this race, just let yourself be great (wise words from my husband right there!). 🙂

  24. Your hair looks awesome, and I couldn’t tell your face was puffy at all. You think it is much worse than it is, I promise. No one notices. I am jealous of all your naps. I wish I had some naps.

  25. I like to treat my body to 1-2 Epsom salt baths the week of taper which helps them relax and renew! 🙂 Good luck this weekend you’re going to rock it!!

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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