5 Things Runners Worry About During the Taper

Photo © Dreamstime.com

Photo © Dreamstime.com

As runners near the end of their training schedules for a marathon or half marathon, they enter what’s known as the taper, dialing back their running mileage and intensity to allow for rest before the big race. Here’s a few things we all think about when we’re tapering:

1) Shoes

You’ve been wearing the same ones during training and they’ve been wonderful. However, the taper causes extreme periods of second-guessing everything. Have I put too many miles on them? Should I buy a new pair and try to break them in before the race? Did I even like these shoes in the first place?

2) Weather

A three-week forecast is spotty at best and yet, it is impossible to not check. As the impending day looms nearer, the frequency of updates hits dizzying heights.

Especially if there is a chance for rain, snow, sleet, wind, unseasonable heat, unseasonable cold, or any other condition that is less than ideal. And whatever the condition, it is always less than ideal.

3) Food

Now that you’ve cut back your mileage, it seems as though your appetite should follow suit. Right? Right…. The justifications begin early and often. Well, I am still running and burning calories. Potato chips are like a vegetable. I’m just topping off my glycogen stores.

4) Hydrating

A few days prior to the race, the intake begins. Water and electrolytes are slurped down by the gallon. By the time you reach the evening prior to race day you are so fed up with spending half the day in the bathroom that you proclaim you are ready.

5) Running

Tapering is all about reducing your mileage to produce fresh legs on race day. So why is it that every run during the taper feels like someone tied cement blocks to your ankles? How am I going to finish the race if three miles feels like a death march? Maybe I should reevaluate my goals? Is it too late to defer?

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