This Runner's Trials

Embracing the taper

Posted by runnerstrials

I hope everyone's weekend is going as splendidly as mine is.

Since my "long" run was so short this week, I was able to get it out of the way before the weeked. Yesterday, I ran 12 miles at 8:40 and felt pretty good.

(Side note: Are you interested to hear how I started running? Check out my Ode to Running on one of my favorite blogs, Health on the Run. Lauren, thank you so much for allowing me to guest post :) )

I am officially 2 weeks away from my marathon. I'm excited, but scared out of my mind. I feel like I've been ready for this day for weeks, yet I feel under-prepared. I know I sound insane, but I'm sure all of you who have experience tapering get it ;)

I thought tapering woud be driving me nuts. I assumed I'd be constantly doubting my ability and making tweaks to my training plan.

But, I feel strangely at peace and may actually be enjoying my taper.

It may have to do with the fact that I spent the weekend in a happy place. It was Clemson's homecoming!

Clemson lost :( But I got to hang with the lovely Michelle and Caitlin- and their significant others- so that made the loss much more bearable.

Poor Michelle and Caitlin have long runs planned for the morning. But I don't! I just have an easy 5 miler.

I didn't envy them. (Ok, I spent one irrational moment wondering if I was still run 18 miles even though I did this last week.) But it was nice to enjoy the afternoon without worrying about the next day's run. I gladly filled my trap with pretel m&ms, diet coke, pizza and pumpkin muffins. I sat in the sun and didn't refill my water bottle as soon as it ran dry. I got to behave like someone who wasn't paranoid about runner's trots, dehydration or tired legs. And it was quite awesome.

Today gave me a glimpse of what life will be like after my schedule is dictated by marathon training, and I'm kind of pumped about it. I can't wait to do whatever I want. Spinning, lifting classes, more yoga and untimed runs will be welcomed back into my life with open arms.

And knowing how good tapering is for me probably has a lot to do with my state of mind. Note the below from Runner's World "It's Taper Time":

"A review of 50 studies on tapering published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones--all depleted by high mileage--return to optimal ranges during a taper. The muscle damage that occurs during sustained training is also repaired. And if that isn't enough, immune function and muscle strength improve, as well, which reduces the odds you'll catch a cold or get injured just before the race. And get this: The average performance improvement by the subjects who tapered in these studies was 3 percent. That works out to 5 to 10 minutes in a marathon." (source)

Improved muscles? And hormones (umm yes)? A better immune system? Lower chance of injury? Speedier times? Sign me up for this taper business!

Have you ever tapered for a race? Or cut down on your exercise regimen for other reasons? Did it make you nervous? How did you body respond?

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