In Which Jenn is Not Very Good at Tapering



It seems counter-intuitive – I mean, the principle behind tapering is that you spend the last week or two before a race running with LESS mileage and LESS intensity, so as to save your strength for the big race push. That means that tapering comes with LESS difficult runs – or at least, it ought to.

And it would for me too, were I somehow able to do it properly.

For starters, I can’t seem to get myself to start tapering until the last minute. My half marathon is this Sunday; last Sunday, I thought to myself, “The race isn’t for another whole week.” So I did my standard, basic upkeep run: eleven miles in about two hours. Not speedy, but not very taper-y either.

Then on Tuesday I thought to myself, “I shall do a mere seven miles this run. TAPERING.” So I set my treadmill a couple notches slower than usual and settled in for a leisurely run with the option to slow down whenever I wanted. Naturally I felt GREAT the entire run for the first time in weeks and ended up running an extra mile just ’cause I was in the zone.


I’m pretty sure I understand the problem. I run because, even when it sucks, it makes me feel like I’ve pushed myself, like I’ve worked hard. It makes me feel good about myself and my exercise achievement. And, let’s face it, knowing I’ve burned 1,000 calories or more makes me feel way less guilty about, y’know, eating. (Yeah, I know; I’m recovering from a complex here…) And although it makes perfect sense to taper prior to a race, tapering DOES NOT FEEL GOOD. It feels incomplete. It feels lazy. It feels like a week of less-than-I-could-do.

It’s not just me, is it?

Oh, Mr. Thurber. You understand me.

Anyway, I have one more run scheduled before the race, for today. FIVE MILES. I STOP AT FIVE MILES. I can walk UP TO TWO AND THAT’S IT. Those are the rules that I just made up.*

Friday, though tempting me with the time to run, will be a strictly yoga day. I’m still trying to decide if I’ll go to ballet class on Saturday. I’m thinking I will but I’ll just do the wussy version, with no extra effort that could lead to sore muscles or tiredness. That’s probably still not part of a good tapering plan, either, but hey, it’ll get me nice and stretched out, and that’s a win, right? šŸ˜€

Does anyone else have trouble with tapering? Or is this just my particular brand of crazy popping up again? Any tapering advice? Lord knows I need it!

*Do you have a flag?

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  1. My problem is that by the time I get to taper my approach is, "eh, screw it, I've got new episodes of the Mindy Project to watch and it was only 4 miles anyway…" So I tend to just stop running altogether. Yup. I'm the world's laziest runner, right here.

  2. So if you were to add the two of us and divide, we'd be perfect. Which makes each of us 50% perfect. Which is not a bad percentage, all things considered, so secretly we're doing well!

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