Well, here I am right at the end of my taper, 3 days away from the Rocket City Marathon. I will run 3 easy miles on Friday to wake my legs up and then sit back and rest as much as possible before Saturday. Looking at the remaining training days left on my schedule got me thinking about taper tantrums.
I always read about runners having taper tantrums before a big race, but I am not sure that I have them. In my mind a taper tantrum means that you’re going crazy not being able to run long or hard the week of your marathon. I don’t have that problem. At all. I am perfectly content sitting on my couch with my feet up. In fact, if I am not careful I can easily skip a week of running and not be heartbroken (case in point—Jersey trip.) In my mind this means that I am not a real runner yet.
But if taper tantrums mean that you want to jump out of your skin with nervous energy, freak out over the smallest things, or feel like throwing up when you think about the race, then I am in the midst of a full-blown tantrum. I am questioning every training run I did (or did not) do, the amount of water I am drinking and sleep I am getting, and whether or not I can pull off a PR. I am frantically calculating if logging an extra 5 miles this week in place of a rest day will help (no) and if eating lots of pasta will be worth the small but inevitable weight gain (yes.)
Now that I have publicly admitted to being crazy, I’m going to take control of my taper tantrum. I know that I need to trust my training, because I had some fantastic long runs and 20 weeks worth of miles logged. I need to focus on my race day plan—fuel, hydration, pacing—so that I run smart. And finally, I need to relax and enjoy this feeling. No matter what the outcome of the race is, I have already accomplished so much through training. My goal is not to win or place, so there is no reason for me to do anything but go out there and have a blast.
Have you experienced taper tantrums? What do you do to combat them?