So This Is What Taper Week Is

Less Than 1 Week Until My First FULL Marathon

This is it. The miles are logged. The 20 mile run happened. All of the stretching, foam rolling, speed work, and strength training are over, for the most part. I do have a total of 14.5 miles to run over the course of 4 days the week leading to the marathon but the long runs are over. The taper began last weekend when I did my last long run. I’m still running the same days but the mileage has dropped a bit.

This is a very weird time, the taper, as they refer to it.  Usually an adjective like dreaded is attached to it and I can see why.I thought I knew about the taper when a trained for all of those half marathons but this is completely different. It is hard to describe why but I’ll do my best. For months on end you are running, and running, and running. the mileage keeps building and then dropping and then building again. Each month as I got my new training schedule I would look to the upcoming weeks in awe.

“Look! A 4 hour run on the 14th!” I’d say to myself.

I didn’t want to stop running. My body changed and I wanted the next run to be here. As I headed out the door this Sunday I said to myself, “I can’t wait until I have a weekend free to sleep in and just go to brunch.” I’m not over the running thing. I’m ready for a break.

There is another aspect of this taper that is mental. You aren’t focused on running anymore so all you have to do is worry and think about your upcoming race. I haven’t been able to get a decent night’s sleep which I need to fix since this week it is key to my performance. I have all these nightmares (figuratively) about not being prepared, forgetting to fix something or just flat-out failing.

“What if I’m the last runner to cross the finish line? And what if they start tearing down while I’m running?”

The easy thing to say is that I’ve trained and prepared for this. It would easy to say that I’ll be fine and that I’ll kick ass. Yeah,yeah,yeah. It doesn’t stop me from being a nervous wreck and it doesn’t help me sleep well at night. It doesn’t make up for all the chewed up finger nails, or nubs, as they are now.

Once I get to the start I will be fine. Once that screen shows the space shuttle taking off and David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ is pumping through my headphones and my feet start moving I will be even better.Once I cross that finish line, wearing a medal that reads 26.2 / Marathon Finisher I will be feeling my best!


The View From My Run

and a Final Thought

Since most of the runs have occurred in the evening hours I have limited pictures to show but here are a few. I have to give one more major shout out to my running partner, Erin, who has been a champ and real team player for me. Her marathon is long over but she still gets up on those cold, rainy weekend mornings to help me log in the miles. I am forever grateful for her support and I wish I could have run the last half of the course in Florida with me.

I also have to give major kudos to my wife, Morgan, for putting up with the craziness of this schedule. I think for the most part she likes how this coach has helped me and how my constant running has made me feel and that I have a running partner that likes to get our morning runs over at a reasonable hour. This week is the true test as I am a SPAZ going through this blasted taper.

Screw you, Taper! Go Home!



5 responses to “So This Is What Taper Week Is

  1. Matt you will finish this run and you will feel amazing – there is no doubt! And go away Taper is right!!! I want my “Elf” back. 🙂

  2. You are your own worst enemy. If you do, ( and you wont) finish last. SO WHAT! You finish and that’s what it is all about. We didn’t make the trip to FL to hear you moan. I know jitters happen but just have lots of training, lots of support, and lots of sweet potatoes waiting for your run…Also lots od goodies for after the race along with lots of hugs , beer, and admiration. Get rid of the nightmares and 😃

  3. This is so exciting! I feel weird when I’m out of a normal training routine so I can’t imagine what tapering for a marathon must feel like. Good luck and have a great time running it!

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