Taper Madness, Training Clarity
I once dated a girl who got real weird during her taper before the big race. As one who was already quite prone to the overly dramatic, she blamed everything on “the taper.” I’m irritable because of the taper. I can’t sleep because of the taper. Don’t talk to me because of the taper.
Of course, everyone is different, but by the time I get to my typical three-week taper before race day, I’m so damn tired that I need some accumulated rest. In fact, I train to get to the taper, pushing myself hard in the weeks that lead up to it, knowing the reward will be a respite.
I welcome the shortened sessions on my feet, the dialed back tempos. Get me a foam roller, a bowl of pasta and a bottle of Two Buck Chuck and I’m good!
Only once race week comes does a hint of that taper madness anxiety slip into my conscience. I’m no psychiatrist, but I feel that most of what I feel is simply a case of the race jitters and nothing else. I mean, what good would I be doing myself by running more miles when I’m supposed to be saving my energy for the upcoming race?
Still, whenever anyone (myself included) mentions any symptom of that dreaded taper madness, my universal go-to cure is to open up that logbook and look at all the great work that’s already been done. As any seasoned runner will admit, the guts of one’s training comes before the taper, not during it.
If you’re not ready to tackle your goals three weeks out from race day, you might as well treat the race as a fun run.
So take pride in all that hard work, relax as race day approaches and tell taper madness to take a hike (preferably along the entire Appalachian Trail, so it stays away for a while).