Now that it’s fall, or marathon season, Taper Madness is sweeping the nation. (Not to be confused with Tapir Madness.)
The Taper is the decrease in miles run in the three weeks prior to a longer race, such as a marathon. I don’t know about you, but for me, running is a little bit addictive. I have been getting used to the “runner’s high” and feeling like I’ve accomplished something before 9am on a Sunday morning. (Sometimes, the accomplishment is just getting out of bed that early on a Sunday morning.)
As a first time marathoner, I’m not very experienced with the taper weeks leading up to a marathon. In the last three weekends, I’ve gone from 17.5 miles, to 13.1 miles, to 8.5 miles. Now what?
I’m told I’m supposed to “take it easy”. But, I’m having trouble figuring out what to do with myself when I’m still all hyped up and could possibly run another 5k or so. It’s happened before, when I injured myself, and that time I surfed the internet.
The Taper has been known to cause a temporary madness in runners. Here are some ways I’m exhibiting Taper Madness:
- I am an EXPERT meteorologist!! Ooookay, maybe not. But I am stalking the weather websites (all of them) to see what the weather will be like on Sunday, October 30. (As of this post: Sunny, 59/45.) I may have weather alerts enabled on my phone. I may also be slightly addicted to the weather channel. Why am I so obsessed? I’ve run a lot of times when I didn’t check the weather. I ran in pre-hurricane weather!
- I am an EXPERT on the race details!! Um, again, this is probably exaggerated due to the madness. I am obsessively checking and re-checking the Marine Corps Marathon race details. I am memorizing the map – I know where the course turns, I know where the hills are. I know where the aid/water/food stations are. I’m still trying to figure out the best spots for my cheering parties to meet/see me (I have suggestions, of course, but I need approval from my cheerleaders). And, each time I visit the website, the countdown clock reminds me that I’m so many days away from the marathon. (As of this posting: 5 days, 19 hours and change). I have spent way too much time mapping out the parking and busing situations.
- I am conversing with myself (more frequently). Kind of ashamed to admit it, but I do talk to myself with some regularity. But now, I’m talking to myself like a crazy person, flip-flopping back and forth between positivity and negativity, asking and then answering my own questions:
- “Why am I doing this?” – – “Bucket List. Bragging rights. 26.2 sticker for your car. Whatever floats your boat.”
- “What was I thinking?” – – “You were thinking it would be a great accomplishment!” or “You weren’t thinking, you idiot. You just signed up on a crazy whim.”
- “OMG I’m so excited!” – – “Say that to your hamstrings and IT bands.”
- “I’m nervous!” – – “You’re going to do great!”
- “I hope I’m not last.” – – “You won’t be last. And if you are, you get the Penguin Award.”
- “I can’t believe it’s almost here!” – – “Countdown clock says less than 6 days.”
- “I’m so excited!” – – “You said that already.”
But, good news, I’m told. There is a CURE!
So, on Sunday, the taper madness will disappear somewhere around the time I cross the starting line. And will likely reappear prior to my next race. Sigh.
Do you experience taper madness? How does it manifest itself?