Apparently, it is time for that marathon training segment that leaves a lot of runners baffled: tapering. The last two or three weeks before the race, training focuses more on rest and maintenance rather than long runs or hard workouts, with the idea of keeping in your best shape without over-tiring. I've heard a lot of horror stories about taper anxiety, weight gain, feeling lethargic, and then ruining taper by giving in to the gut instinct to go run more.
I was hoping the warnings would prepare me for what I would actually experience.
Already, though, it is clear that the only way to know what taper will actually be like is to DO it. I'm hungry and exhausted all the time, I've seen the scale go the "wrong direction" a little more than I thought, and yup, I'm freaking out about training harder and not trusting that I've already done the legwork (so to speak). Honestly? I'm getting pretty down on myself.
Now to be fair to myself, there have been a few additional "circumstances" (I'm a Clevelander, so apparently that's the big excuse these days) contributing to the way I've felt this week. For a few days I was a little under the weather, plus it's "that time of the month" again. On the other hand, I've also been slipping on nutrition and hydration, which is a major setback after all the improvement I'd made over the past few months. My run the other day was cut short because I felt awful; I've been putting off my next run for fear of feeling that badly again even though it's only three miles!
More important than anything at this point is staying focused despite these other factors. Instead, I find myself becoming a taper opportunist - using taper as an excuse to be a little lazier and to gain a little weight even if it's from the wrong sources. This is NOT good! Marathon training plans, including the very important taper portion, are structured to make a huge physical undertaking possible. I've impressed myself for months by actually sticking to a training plan for once, and MCM is far too close to fall off now!
I need some advice: what can I do to beat the taper blues and stay on track for my first marathon? Tell me in the comments, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), whatever it takes! Help me stay on track and make this marathon an amazing experience in my life, not a flop that I ruined last minute!
Oh, and don't forget to check out today's Wednesday Word, which happens to be to "opportunist", over at host Deb Runs page!