Good morning and happy Tuesday! No doubt I sound like a broken record, but we have officially passed the halfway point in October, and I just can’t believe it! There is something about training for a marathon that makes time seem like it’s passing so quickly. Focusing on a goal that is months away initially seems like it will take an impossibly long time to arrive, but then somehow throughout all the preparation and planning the weeks just whiz by. As the weeks continue to fly by, one word keeps echoing in my head, like a carrot that is dangling in front of a horse: taper.
This past Sunday was a milestone in my marathon training so far, not only because it was a peak week in terms of mileage, but because it marked exactly three weeks to go until the New York City Marathon! Three weeks to go in training means it is officially the start of taper time. Taper is a time that always seems so far away at the beginning of training and yet it seems to come quickly once the running begins!
I hear so many runners talk about the anxiety they feel during taper; how stressful it can be, and how restless they feel during this time… and I totally get it! I know exactly what how they feel and have yet to run a marathon where I do not start to worry about the distance or doubt myself as I am sitting on the couch preparing for the race rather than getting in some extra mileage outside.
However, despite all the restlessness, taper is one of my FAVORITE parts of marathon training. As I begin this first week of taper, my mileage will still be higher this week than it is most weeks when I am not training for a race, but at this point in time it feels like such a lighter load of miles. Taper really helps us put running in perspective and reminds us just how strong our bodies really are.
My 5 Favorite Things About Tapering for a Race:
- It makes us realize just how much running we have done and really puts our training into perspective! Suddenly cutting back on our mileage makes us realize how much time we have actually been dedicating to our training.
- It helps us appreciate those rest days and runs that used to feel long but suddenly feel like no time commitment at all. (AKA those 4 milers that I used to think were such a solid mid-week distance, but now feel like just a quick run around the block;).
- Taper allows us time to properly recover – through stretching, yoga, foam rolling – while not feeling guilty for investing even more time into our already time consuming hobby of marathon training.
- It also allows us time to focus on the logistical planning for race day now that our physical preparation has reached its peak. We now have extra time right before the race to plan our travel, outfit, accessories, fuel, etc.
- The cut back in mileage helps us get really excited for race day and crave those runs even more! I think running is one of those things that we don’t always truly appreciate until it is taken away… taper sure does a great job of reminding us what all we are missing which just helps me build up even more excitement for the race.
To all the runners out there getting ready for fall races: I sure hope you are looking forward to this time to taper as much as I am! The beginning of taper is a great reminder that we have already completed the hard part. Our bodies are ready and now it’s time to get our minds there too.
Enjoy the extra time these next few weeks and take some time to remind yourself of all the hard work you have put in these past few months.