Instead of going with their topic however (since I recently posted my favorite running/workout songs) I’ve decided to go in a little different direction. I wanted to talk tapering…the word that every marathoner loves to hate. I found this little ditty and goes a little something like this courtesy of The Examiner
Taper Time Tantrum
‘I cannot run again today,’
Said little Betty Ann Bengay.
‘My quads are cramped.
My nerves are shot.
I think I might have purple snot.
My arch is pulled.
My glutes are sore.
My back it doesn’t bend no more.
My feet they have this awful smell.
I have another black toenail.
My elbow aches each time I pee.
And what’s that grinding in my knee?
I have a stress fracture. In my skull.
My friends, they say, I’m full of bull.
I think I may have pulled a lung.
Eleven miles ain’t a REAL long run!
My legs they are no longer speedy.
My husband thinks I’m really needy.
If I run more will I get faster?
Will micro-tears just cause disaster?
I think that I should carbo-load.
Uh oh. No way. Where’s the commode?
My glycogen is kinda spent.
I know my shin, it needs a splint.
My singlet smells like something funky.
And don’t you think my butt looks chunky?
My IT band no longer bends.
When will this taper ever end?
My hamstrings hurt and–what?
What’s that you say?
You say today is…marathon day?
G’bye. I’m going out to run.’
Anyone else get a little crazy? I’m pretty sure that I can relate to every line in that poem. Tapering really does make one crazy. It should be made into a real psychological diagnosis I’m convinced because your personality can changed during this time. Some may develop Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (checking weather multiple times a day for 10 days), some have delusions of grandeur, and some even develop Taper Psychosis (while it may not be in the DSM IV or whatever edition they are on, it’s TRUE) and some become Bipolar (high, low, high, low, low, low, high high)! You question EVERYTHING you have done in the last 16 weeks. You have dreams about everything that could go wrong, you all of a sudden develop phantom pains that don’t exist, you convince yourself that you are NOT trained properly despite completing your training plan successfully. WHEW…..the brain is a powerful thing people!
So, I’ve compiled a list of things to avoid the taper crazies! Here we go!
1. Physical rest.
The last 2 weeks before the marathon, I like to rest. A LOT. I don’t try any new fitness routine. I don’t run long, I don’t run fast. And in my case, I don’t run at all (at least this time around). Because of the hip issue I’ve been having, I’ve been taking my taper and rest very seriously. They say it takes 3 days to lose your cardio fitness, so I’m throwing in a few spinning classes and will be hitting the Alter G treadmill this week to get my last few short runs in to keep my legs loose. And I WILL get my PT exercises in…
Yes, I like the traditional sports massage, but I’ve really been loving the Thai Yoga Massage. I had the most amazing Thai Yoga Massage by Sally at Alexandria Massage Therapy last night. AH-MA-ZING. If you haven’t heard of it, you need to look into it. This is a great one for runners. Here is a little video to give you an idea of what to expect.
3. Clean eating
Try to eat as clean as possible and fuel your body carefully in the few weeks leading up to the race. You ARE what you eat and food can effect the way you are feeling about yourself and your body and the capabilities of your body. Stay away from processed foods and stick to whole grains.
It’s important to remember that you aren’t burning a million calories that you were when you were running 18 miles or more so you don’t have the excuse to eat ALL the food still. I for one get a little grumpy and down in the dumps during the taper period which makes me want to eat sweets. This is the worst thing to do. I’ve promised myself a nice sweet treat AFTER the race. Stick with complex carbs, protein, and make sure you don’t overdo it on the fiber the week before. The last thing you need is to have tummy issues. It has been tradition in the running community to carb load the night before your big race, but ideally you want to carb load in the week leading up to the race. But don’t overdo it! Too many carbs can leave you bloated and lethargic! !
Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read….
Whatever you do….DON’T read your latest Runner’s World magazine….that will give you the crazies even more. It will make you want to change your diet, your training plan AND your shoes the week before. NOT.GOOD.
Keep yourself busy (which isn’t an issue for most of us)…..doing something tedious like cutting up your old race shirts for a quilt! Or go shopping for a fun throwaway!
Most important…..sit back, relax, enjoy a few epsom salt baths and a good glass of wine. Reflect on the road that you have taken to get to this point. The hard work, dedication, the sacrifices you have made to get to this day. You are a very small percentage of the human population that will ever train and endure a marathon. No one will ever understand why we get up at zero dark thirty to run 20 miles Take pride in that and tell yourself you are a BADASS. And remember, it is JUST a race. Most of us are not elite athletes and never will be. Of course we all have goals and are disappointed if we don’t meet them and most of us are Type A so VERY focused on our goals. But remember the actual race is YOUR victory lap, the effort is in your journey to get there and crossing that finish line is a bonus.
Who else is tapering right now?
What do YOU do to avoid Taper Psychosis??