Time to Taper

The true reward of all those months of training comes at that moment when you cross the finish line at the end of 26.2 miles and you recognize your huge accomplishment as you proudly hobble over to accept your medal from a volunteer, have your picture taken, and warm up with a shiny Mylar blanket.

But the SECOND best reward that comes from all those months of training is the three-week taper period before the big race. What does this mean to me? Cutting back on mileage, sleeping in a little longer, being a little bit lazy and maybe eating whatever I feel like eating. Bring on the cookie dough ice cream. Enjoy it, because it’s the quiet before the storm. And right now I am enjoying it!

I finished my last long run this past Sunday with my running club. As we do every year, three weeks before the NYC marathon we start in Park Slope and run the last 20 miles of the course. Along the way we have dedicated teammates stationed every few miles at water stops, helping the rest of us get through that last major training run. We end in Central Park at Tavern on the Green, and those who feel like pushing it a little more can tack on an extra two miles by running the lower loop and then some. For me it was very strong this year. I ran with good company, stayed on pace, and felt like I could easily tackle another 4.2 miles. Exactly the kind of place you want to be in three weeks before the big day.

And now I’m in the taper zone. Suddenly it’s a different world with new challenges.

I remind myself that it’s important to stick to your plan and fight the urge to run the extra miles you are used to. This will give your body time to rejuvenate and be in the most well-rested shape it can be in for race day. So with a decrease in mileage, that opens up my calendar quite a bit. What do I do with my extra time? Cross train a bit with some swimming, and then maybe spend a little bit more time on the job search…

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