Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lessons from the T.A.P.E.R.

Cleveland Marathon is less than 2 weeks away. 
Where the hell did this year go?
I feel like just yesterday I was like
"Hey what are we doing for New Years?"
Okay, anyways.

This is not my first marathon, 
therefore not my first taper experience. 
Each one was a little different,
& each one taught me something new.

Quick recap of my taper experience...
and then my little present to you...
a T.A.P.E.R Acronym :) ENJOY!

Marathon #1 Taper (March 2011)
3 weeks of very little running, 
and lots of eating.
I had no clue what I was doing for this
literally flying by the seat of my pants.
Mentally I was just tired and nervous.
Lesson: It was my first marathon, too many lessons to name.

Marathon #2 Taper (September 2011)
Raced a half 2 weeks prior, shouldn't have done that.
Then a solid 2 weeks of light exercise.
Carb-loading was decent I suppose,
but still really had NO clue what I was doing.
I went into this race very unprepared mentally,
crappy support system didn't help.
Lesson: Don't be around people who make you cry a lot during taper,
 and especially on race morning.

Marathon #3 Taper (November 2011)
Decent taper, cut back for about 1.5 weeks. 
Got sick in last week or so,
I remember taking Mucinex like it was my job.
Mentally I felt good though, 
taper/vacation/marathon was mentally what I need to 
escape the problems I was dealing with in my personal life.
Lesson: Do what YOU need to do. 
Taking care of yourself isn't selfish, it's NECESSARY.

Marathon #4 Taper (November 2012)
Tapered very well for this one. 
Worked out, but kept it clean and easy.
Kept myself busy enough not to freak out.
 I played it very smart the few weeks leading up to the race,
and it paid off big time.
Oh, and getting engaged a week prior to the marathon....
makes for a really happy, less stressful taper.
Highly recommend it. Tell your boyfriend.
Lesson: Distract yourself, and surround yourself with positive things.
 A happy taper can make a happy racer.

Marathon #5 Taper (right meow)
Plan is to continue working out/running like I have been.
No real taper this time,
this 26.2 isn't a goal race...& to be honest, 
I haven't been training hard enough this time around, 
to really need a full blown taper.
This week I'll go forward as planned, 
next week I'll cut back about halfway through.
My current taper problem: Checking the weather.
This is the first 26.2 race I am going into, 
that has a serious chance of being stupidly hot.
Let the praying to mother nature begin.
Lesson:  Not sure yet. Let's hope the lesson isn't 
"maybe I should have actually trained this time"

And without further ado...
my take on the infamous TAPER...

T-Take time for yourself, mainly because no one is going to want to be around your cranky exercise deprived self. Alone time will help you relax & reflect.
A-Appear calm and collected like a duck on the water. 
Kicking like hell underneath to stay afloat. 

P-Pray. Even if you aren't religious.
What you really pray for: not tripping and falling, not letting that girl pass you at the finish, finishing with clean underpants, don't let them see me cry, a tank to follow me and push me through the wall, a nice person to pause my Garmin if I collapse, mother nature can visit this lady another day, Jupiter(Weather God) please keep the temps above 40 and below 70, is that too much to ask?

E-Eat Carbohydrates, lots of them
Don't let Emily Blunt make you feel guilty.

R- Reduce...Reduce...Reduce...
Reduce your mileage 
Reduce your exercise frequency
Reduce your intake of crap foods
(but DONT make too many drastic diet changes in last week, 
your body will be thrown out of whack and you will hate your life on race day.)
Reduce the bullshit in your life.
(I can't tell you how serious I am about this, this is more important than carb loading, seriously...get rid of the drama and the stress and toxic people. You need to go into the race with a clear mind, not worry about other people or anything but yourself)

What's your take on TAPER?

For those of you tapering for your first marathon, what are your thoughts fears?

For those who have done this before, what advice do you have/what have you learned?


  1. what an awesome acronym for taper. i always find some kink in my body when i taper or start getting sick.

    i pray for you that its not hot. i ran my first marathon last spring (nashville) and it was in mid 70s with no shade. i died.

  2. I really like this post...maybe I'll show Tim to you know...get me a good marathon time. I kid...somewhat. I'm very flexible to what you want and need to do this weekend as far as food, running...working out...all that jazz. I can't wait to see how it goes and I'll literally be stalking you all that weekend.

  3. I love your take on taper. Especially the part about bullshit. Taper is an emotional time as it is (or it was for the entire women's swim team when I was doing it) and adding any extra drama just makes it worse. Taper really is more important to just stay relaxed and go about your everyday life with some minor changes. But carbs- YES YES YES. I personal enjoy running in the really warm temperatures (my training thrives when it's 75-85*) but I'm not sure what would happen if I were to do 26+ miles in it. I'd probably die.

  4. I have a good feeling about the weather this year in Cleveland. In 2010 the weather was perfect, in 2011 the weather was freezing cold and rain turned to SNOW! in 2012 it was hot but we also had a very mild winter in 2012. This year we had a normal winter and it is just now starting to warm up so I'm confident we will have good weather this year :)
    As soon as the 10 day forecast is out I will be checking it everyday though.

  5. "Taking care of yourself isn't selfish, it's NECESSARY." <--- love this! And it's so true. Something I need to remember more often.

    Also that gif is A+. I'm not an experienced marathoner by any means, but I definitely agree with the sentiment about surrounding yourself with the right people. I think negativity breeds negativity, and my mind is pretty fragile during a taper, haha. No reason to spend time with people who stress you out/make you cry/make you doubt yourself.

  6. I love this! My biggest fear going in is that everything that went so well during training will go horribly wrong. Little dramatic? I think the crazies are already setting in!


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