Monday Morning Musings: My Taper Madness.

Now that it’s fall, or marathon season, Taper Madness is sweeping the nation.  (Not to be confused with Tapir Madness.)

D'awwww! Young Brazilian Tapir. Photo Courtesy of AP

 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!

Ominous clouds in the morning, about 8 hours before Hurricane Irene made landfall in DC.

  • 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:
    1. “Why am I doing this?” – – “Bucket List. Bragging rights. 26.2 sticker for your car.  Whatever floats your boat.”
    2. “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.”
    3. “OMG I’m so excited!” – – “Say that to your hamstrings and IT bands.”
    4. “I’m nervous!” – – “You’re going to do great!”
    5. “I hope I’m not last.” – – “You won’t be last.  And if you are, you get the Penguin Award.”
    6. “I can’t believe it’s almost here!” – – “Countdown clock says less than 6 days.”
    7. “I’m so excited!” – – “You said that already.”
  • If your question does not include the words “race” or “run”, I can’t hear you.  It’s an affliction.  I might have selective hearing.  I just stare at your mouth – I know you’re saying words, but I don’t understand them.  I have the unreasonable urge to stomp my foot and shout, “But I wanna talk about my raaaaccceeeeee!”
  • I’m constantly preparing.  And thinking about the race.  I keep laying out different outfits, trying to figure out what would be best for the weather.  So this outfit changes each time the weather changes.  I kind of want to get a new shirt, but they say don’t do anything new on race day.  Also, I keep reworking my race mix – “Do I really need Cee-Lo Green?  Should I put Paramore at the beginning or at the end?” 

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?

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10 Responses to Monday Morning Musings: My Taper Madness.

  1. I always do! I feel bad for people around me because I get cranky! I feel so strange not putting in the extra mileage in the couple weeks leading up to the race. The rest is soo worth it though. Fresh legs = kickin marathon!

    • Suzy says:

      Yeah I’m only slightly cranky… I just want to talk about running! 🙂 I totally agree that it does feel strange, though! I am looking forward to the rested legs on Sunday!

  2. Sarah says:

    Race day is almost here! Woot!

  3. laura says:

    I’m always so paranoid about the fine line between not enough rest and too much rest. I know if I take a few days off from running, my legs feel heavy and sluggish the next time I get back out!

    Here’s a great article about Muscle Tension from Running Times – I really liked the way they talked about that slug feeling:

  4. Tapering just makes my whole body feel confused, which causes my madness. Sleeping in til 7? What? Don’t I have a run to do? Oh wait… wait… that race thing. Then my mind goes into overdrive plan, plan, planning for race day. I think I spend all my extra free time deciding what top to wear and how many gels to bring.

    Anyway, I’d started a blog about running slow and hopefully it’s funny but it’s new and I’m looking for feedback. If you’d like to and you’ve got a minute, check it out:

    • Suzy says:

      I know! I hate that confused feeling! It’s almost like I’ve forgotten to do something, and it drives me crazy… then I remember what it is! I’ll definitely take a look at your blog! Us slow-bies (is that a word?) have to stick together. 🙂

  5. I really wish it was Tapir madness. Holy crap how cute. That little guy would be bff’s with Fin, right?
    Also, remember when you’re running miles 18/19 where you are on the course. Hopefully it gives you a laugh 🙂
    I can’t wait to cheer for you! You’re going to do so great!

    • Suzy says:

      Oh the little tapir would totally be friends with Fin… thought he might get bigger than Fin. 🙂

      I’m so excited that you’re going to be on the course to cheer for me! i’m going to NEED you by mile 22, so don’t mind my sweaty hug when I see you! And yes, Mile 18./19 makes me giggle. 🙂

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