Tapering Like a Boss

In lieu of a Weekend Wrap-Up – since there’s really nothing to report, at all – let’s talk tapering, shall we?

Tapering, according to this Runner’s World article, is “the reduction of exercise before a competition or race.” After training hard and building up your mileage, tapering gives your body a chance to recover from all that work, rebuild glycogen stores, and repair any tissue damage that might have happened during that training (hello knees). Nearly every instance of tapering I’ve seen in blogs, on facebook, or wherever has included a runner complaining about how terrible tapering is and how cranky they get while doing so (see image above).

Maybe this makes me a terrible runner, I don’t know… but I’m loving tapering. As I struggled during my 10-mile training run two Sundays ago, I kept thinking how awesome 2 weeks of tapering would be, and that’s what got me through that run (that, and Colin being motivating and awesome as usual). However, I might be taking the rest-during-tapering instructions a little too… restfully.

I took my tapering advice from another Runner’s World article titled “How to Taper for Your First Half Marathon.” After a final long run of 10-14 miles 2 weeks out from the race, RW advises 30-minute workouts during the week, a 45-minute run on the Sunday before the race, 30-minute runs on Tuesday and Thursday, rest or a very easy run Friday, rest/walk Saturday, and go-go-go on race day (they didn’t really say go-go-go, but that sounded more exciting to me!)

So what did I do after my last long run? Rested Monday, skipped speed workout Tuesday because my knees were still bothering me, skipped soccer Wednesday to attend a fancy work shindig, kickball was rained out on Thursday, I did nothing Friday, nothing Saturday (other than beating Super Mario World, heck yes), and blew off Colin for my stepdad’s birthday party, after having promised to run my 45 minutes with him (oops – sorry Colin!). I rested, and how! The one constructive things I did all week were a) ask my doctor about my knees and, b) on her advice, buy some knee braces.

This week, during the final countdown? I’m planning a nice, easy run with Colin on Tuesday, then I have a double-header for soccer Wednesday (which I really, really want to blow off in order to protect my knees but it’s the last 2 games of the season and I’ve only played in 2 games total and feel bad leaving everyone a sub short for a double-header… pray for me, readers, or cross your fingers or send me all the knee-protecting vibes you can muster!), a wicked late kickball game on Thursday, and then I intend to rest my little legs for as much of Friday and Saturday as I can. And hydrate. And eat all the pasta. I ❤ pasta. I may test out my knee braces at some point too, to see whether a patella strap or a compression sleeve works better. And hydrate.

On top of all that, I’m going to try to calm my pre-race nerves down a bit (ha!). The pre-race stress dreams have already started, and each time I think about running 13.1 miles my heart starts to race a little. I need to remember the words of Pattie, my Shammie friend: “Just take it one mile at a time!”

Any tapering advice? Am I doing it completely wrong? 😉

What are your thoughts on patella straps? Have you used one/did it work for you?

Any half marathon advice??


14 thoughts on “Tapering Like a Boss

  1. I couldn’t tell you much about tapers- my first half marathon was during my marathon training (and I had run 15 miles the week prior to my half!! no taper whatsoever!!), and my marathon taper was pretty much me praying my cold would go away… just try to get moving before your half. Something, anything, and keep your legs loose!!
    And I definitely quit my soccer league after playing 2 games, knowing they needed girls like crazy, to save my legs for the marathon; no shame haha

    And my best half advice is to just run the mile you’re in. Don’t think about how easy mile 1 was or how you have 5 miles left or… just run and be focused on your moment and that will take you through to the finish.
    Good luck!! And remember, you GOT this!!

    • I’m reeeeally tempted to just turn down the soccer on Wednesday. Last games of the season or not, I’m too injury-prone to risk it!

      Thanks for the advice and for the moral support! 😀 Focus on the moment… I need to remember that!

  2. I didn’t run at all the week before my first half, I also like taper. Permission to rest is awesome. Just focus on the moment and make your goal finishing. Focusing on a speed goal will just drive you crazy, at least it did me. Relax and get some sleep, you will have a great race!

    • Permission to rest IS awesome! 😉 I definitely need to remember not to worry about speed… my brain tends to get stuck on that, but I want to make sure I can finish! Thanks for the advice!

  3. I also look forward to taper, and don’t notice any crankiness. Occasionally, I will feel a tad more energetic, but I come off more hyper than grumpy. This time around, I’ve been doing taper much like you….extra restful! It’s not ideal, but I really don’t think it’ll be a problem. Half Marathon advice: start slow, try not to get caught up in the excitement, you’ll want the extra energy at the end. Good Luck!

    • Thanks!! Yes, start slow, I definitely need to make sure I hold back and don’t get caught up in the excitement at the beginning!

    • Maybe if I had been *seriously* training for this race I’d be getting the taper crankies, but I’m just enjoying chilling out. Maybe a little too much 🙂

  4. Ha, my “taper” for my first half was “I’m going to sit on my butt and eat all the food.” And at two weeks out from my second half, the longest run I’ve managed is 9 miles, and I have a head cold that’s kicking my butt, so I’m not sure how much running I’ll be doing this week either…

    I survived, and you will too. Enjoy the taper, protect your knees, and GO GET IT ON RACE DAY!

    • I like the taper you did for your first half! That sounds exactly like what I want to do 😉 Thanks for the advice and support, and I hope you feel better!!

  5. I love tapering as well! I think it’s mostly because I run before work. So shorter runs mean that I can sleep more! I think as long as you do 3 to 4 shorter runs of 20 to 30 minutes plus some 60 minutes long runs, you should be fine during tapering. It’s better to be rested than feel like you have to get a certain amount of miles in.

    • Ahh yes, that would make me love tapering even more if I did my running in the mornings! 🙂 Thanks for the advice… I need to work on balancing keeping my legs loose and my fitness up with being rested. This will probably turn out to be a learning opportunity for me 😉

  6. 1. You’ve totally got this. You need to just remember all the hard work you’ve put in training and you are going to OWN IT!
    2. Eat all the foods (I ❤ pasta too). Just don't eat any weird (i.e. you've never had before) shiz.
    3. I ran one last "long" confidence building run the weekend before my race. I stayed active throughout the week before but took it easy. I ran my last bit (just 2 miles, even though I wanted to go longer) on the day before. As difficult as it is, just try to rest your legs and don't push it too much before your race.
    4. I had some wicked crazy pre-race dreams too, I feel ya.
    5. You're gonna slaaaaay it! Good luck. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • 1) Thank you!
      2) Mmmm all the (safe) foods and all the pasta!
      3) Good advice… thank you!
      4) Glad I’m not the only one!
      5) Thanks again!! 😀

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