Tapering and why it generally sucks. Part I

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Friday’s workout: 5.6m Tempo

Saturday’s workout: 6m Easy

During a taper, about 2 weeks prior to a race, your supposed to cut down your mileage, cut down the intensity and let your legs do more resting than running. Cutting back just before a big race feels like pure torture. All the extra time NOT running is spent in the following ways:

  •      Worrying about the race
  •      Reviewing every detail of your training log, and then panicking when you can’t come up with a secret formula for your race.
  •      Becoming a hypochondriac. Seriously, what is this the twinge I just felt in my ankle? Is it broken!?!? Did I really just sneeze? Great, now i’m gonna be sick for the race :/
  •      Lots of self doubt, self hatred and pure disappointment in the workouts I should have put more effort into. If i had a few more weeks of training!

That’s tapering, a lot of extra time to worry about things that can go wrong. I have friends and family that will gladly tell you what a brat monster I can be right before a race. I thought my world was falling apart, i would stress over every little thing and snap on anyone who questioned otherwise…but after the race I was back to normal. Usually.

So what are some ways to battle the dreaded taper? Start by not over analyzing your previous workouts and focus your energy on resting your legs. Fact: You will NOT lose speed or endurance during your taper. You can however, overdo it by trying to squeeze in those last few hard runs leaving your legs tired or sore on race day. I generally add tapering weeks into my training. For example, i increase my mileage for 3 weeks and cut down the 4th week by about 20%, then begin increasing again. This has helped me stay away from injuries and also gets me used to cutting my mileage down without going insane.

I’m going into my final week of tapering and had my last tempo run yesterday with Matt. He helped pace me pretty well. We did a total of 5.6 miles- 8:18, 7:47, 7:37, 7:46, 8:07 with a mile warm up and a little over half mile cool down. 5 miles is a short run for me, so a few quick miles won’t leave me fatigued next week, but this will be the last time I run near half marathon pace until race day.

After my tempo, sweaty & happy

Today I ran 6 easy miles with my friend Laura. I forgot to take pictures of us! I know, internet rules: no picture = never happened. I swear it did though, cause i remembered to take a selfie as I waited for her to roll up. We had a great time even though her Garmin died a mile in and I forgot mine at home. Sometimes running without all the gadgets feels good 🙂


Things to do during a taper:  take your vitamins & drink plenty of water. Sleep extra hours, stretch, ice, foam roll, compress & eat carbs in moderate amounts all week (instead of binging on a box of pasta the night before). Create a list of things you need to do or buy before race day or traveling to a race and take care of it. Start laying out your race day clothes, shoes etc, so half the packing will be done. Take a few minutes with the race route map and familiarize yourself with the course and where water stations & toilets are located. Finally, think positive about the race. When you find yourself doubting whether or not you can finish the race or hold a certain pace try and remember all the hard work you’ve done during training and pray to the Running Gods that the weather and race conditions will forever be in your favor.


Pro Compression socks, baseball & a Summer Shandy, gotta enjoy it while it’s around!

Have a nice weekend!

Author: She's Going the Distance


One thought on “Tapering and why it generally sucks. Part I

  1. Pingback: Secret Weapons for Marathon Week |

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