“Rest. Relax. Repeat”
The marathon taper. In my seven years of running full marathons, the taper has been something I dread. One of those things I know is going to happen and I can’t control it – right up there with chafing, stomach trouble and the cry-worthy long run.
But this blog is not about how much I hate tapering. Brace yourselves. I’m about to shock you all.
I’m so excited for the taper. That’s right. I’m at the point in training where I’ve reached the taper and I’m thrilled for the easing up the next three weeks will bring.
WTF, Lindsay? You HATE the taper. Why the 180-degree flip? As I often do, allow me to explain.
For whatever reason, this marathon training season has been really tough on my body.
I’ve struggled with a hamstring issue that started as a stiff, sore muscle and now has creeped its way up through my glute and lower back, all the way down to my knee, sometimes causing sharp pain on longer runs.
I’m one black toenail away from my sans-toenail toes outnumbering the piggies that are still hanging onto the nails.
Speaking of my feet, I’ve racked up more blisters and callouses than I can remember from past years.
My arches and calves are always sore, so I’ve been spending a ton of time in full compression socks.
I’ve been a slave to ibuprofen and ice packs, to foam rolling and physical therapy.
And the toughest part about all this? I have no idea why.
I’m not training harder than last year but there are plenty of theories.
Maybe my 10 years of incredibly consistent running have finally caught up to me.
Maybe after years of a mentality that includes “never skip leg day” and, “c’mon, you can run faster than that,” my body is finally saying “For the love of all things good, please give me a break!”
Maybe it’s the simple fact that I’m getting older.
Maybe it’s a combination of several things.
Either way, this is the first time in my years of marathon training that I don’t feel at my strongest leading up to the taper – in fact, I feel pretty beat up. So I’m welcoming this taper. I NEED this taper. I’m ready to cut my body a little slack, ease up and trust that I’ll still have a great run on April 18. One that I’ll enjoy and where I’ll be proud when I cross the finish line – no matter what the time on my watch reads.
Now, this newfound love of the taper is all purely based on my physical side. The mental side of me never wants to accept anything but full-throttle. It’ll be a little harder to get mental Lindsay onboard with physical Lindsay’s new embracing of the taper. But I think it’s going to be okay. It’s going to be a really good thing for me.
I should also mention, as I type this, I’m coming off yesterday’s 22-mile run – which was good yet exhausting so I’m enjoying a day off today. Come tomorrow, I’ll have forgotten that feeling and be so amped to hit the pavement, I’ll for sure have to fight myself from trying to run 10 miles (my max tomorrow is 7 and I do not need to exceed that for any reason!). We’ll see.
Anyone else out there hitting their taper week now or soon? Are you looking forward to it or are you a hater of the taper? Comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.