Friday, November 14, 2014

Taper State of Mind

I've never really tapered for a race before. Usually when training for half marathons, I run 13 miles as my last long run two weeks out, then 9-10 miles the weekend before, and run a couple easy runs before race day. But I don't really taper.

But given how long it took me to recover from 20, and the fact that I still feel super depleted and even my short runs have been stiff, slow slogs lately, I'm trying to taper seriously without letting it go to my head.
First step of taper...relax and add more date-nights to your week. And carb loading. And alcohol. That's what the elites do, right?
It's all mental, isn't it? I know I'm physically capable of running the marathon right now, but my legs are so tired. Rest is the way to go - as my friends keep saying, "The hay is in the barn." - but I'm worried that if I rest too much I'll lose fitness. I've decided that "taper madness" really is 90% mental because my body is loving the rest.
This "easy" run with Kristin and Tracey didn't feel so easy! But my new shoes felt great, and looked pretty, too!
One reason I've been more tired than usual is that volleyball has started and I'm a very active coach. My hamstrings and quads are feeling it; I love the game too much to give direction from the sidelines during practice!
Pre-game snack in my car. We won our first game by a landslide. I couldn't be prouder of my girls!
I've noticed a funny trend in my distances over the last few weeks. I used to be a stickler for exact distances, but lately I'm comfortable stopping when I'm finished, no matter the mileage.
Usually I'd finish those runs on nicer, rounder numbers, but tapering has changed my mindset a bit there. Now I finish when my legs feel done.
I'm also considering a new, drastic haircut for after the race. My hair has been ruined by braids, sweat, and over-washing. It's been long for much too long! I'm ready to cut it short again; Matt wants me to go for the buzzed look we've been seeing on so many ladies lately. 
Not this drastic, though.
We'll see. I tend to like a short cut for a week and then get bored with it and annoyed with having to style it daily.

Fifteen days until the race. My legs don't feel rested or recovered yet. I guess I need to take this taper thing a little more seriously...and maybe fit some yoga into my schedule over the next two weeks! A massage wouldn't hurt either...
Seriously awesome surprise from Kristin this week!
I'm tempted to book this massage before my race, but I know saving it for after will be worth it!

Do you get taper madness?
Marathon-experienced friends, do your legs feel more tired at the start of taper? When do they start to feel fresh again? Is feeling so depleted normal?
Do you like having short, medium, or long hair best?



  1. I can totally picture you with the short hair! Me, I used to hate tapering for fear that I'd lose all the fitness I'd built up. Now I realized that I run my faster marathons when I'm more well rested hitting the start line. Trust your training! (As if no one has told you that before, lol). I also love to get a massage on my legs in the week leading up to the marathon and one massage about two days post-marathon. It really does help speed up recovery for me. :) BTW your pizza looks a-maaazing!

  2. You will totally rock your marathon - no worries :)
    I love short hair - I grow mine every year for Locks of Love, but my favorite time is summer time, when it is still short from being chopped off.

  3. I understand your taper madness, I have been there before. A little over two years ago, I finally started to embrace taper. For me, even if I feel a little sluggish during taper, it doesn't mean that I AM sluggish. Whenever I get out there on the road after several days off, I feel SO FREAKING FRESH and I fly. But I do have to tell myself during taper, "It does NOT matter how you feel right now because on race day, your legs are going thank you!" And it has always been true! So I know it's easy for me to say, but just enjoy the time off. Your friends are right- the hay is in the barn. You will GAIN fitness (not lose fitness) from this taper because your muscles are recovering right now. It's part of the training. These days off where you rest your legs- look at that as training, cause it is!

  4. I get taper madness pretty badly, but I know I have to do it to feel fresh at the race. Don't worry, trust your training. You'll feel well rested and strong again soon. If your legs still feel tired a week after your long run you might want to scale back how active you are when you're coaching. Remember, your body needs rest right now in order to be strong for the race. Keep up the extra date nights too! I think they're important now that you have a little extra time because you aren't running so much. :)

  5. I never taper. I have a problem. I know that I would do much better in my races if I actually did rest and run less before a big race. You are so smart for listening to your legs and not your brain! I would definitely not have been able to stop at 2.9 miles though. My OCD would have made it an even 3 or even 3.1!

  6. Tapering is so key, I never tapered before my last half marathon, and it definitely made a huge difference! Embrace it!

  7. I'm at the point where I really need to cut my hair too! It's overwashed and now it's a bit too long to comfortably put into a bun when I run, and I hate feeling it swishing around back there!

    Enjoy every minute of your taper! I think the taper was easy for me since we were on vacation and I had a ton of distractions to keep me from running. The good news is you'll get lots of rest at first which will feel awesome and then towards the end you'll feel so fresh you'll just be dying to get in a nice long (26.2 mile) run! :D

  8. I hate taper week! Never done a marathon before, but I can't stand not running for a week or two...I get paranoid about loss of fitness too. My legs definitely feel more relaxed after taking the week off after Tough Mudder though!

    I cut my hair really short in February of this year- I felt the same as you do, I liked it for a few weeks and then got tired of styling it. It was really annoying to try and put it in a ponytail when running because pieces would fall out everywhere! Sometimes it's nice for a change though :-)

    Best of luck on your marathon!! I know you'll do great!

  9. Tapering is hard mentally, but my legs were thankful I did it!! I can't wait to see the short hair when you cut it!! :D