For months, I built up my endurance, watching the miles accumulate on DailyMile. At the beginning, I could not fathom the idea of running twenty miles, and then something crazy happened: I did it. Not only did I do it, but I liked it! There is proof of my happiness – a photo of Mel and I crossing the finish line of the Monona 20K (we ran 7.5 miles before it) with goofy grins on our faces and arms raised in triumph.
After the longest run of training, one prepares for the big day by tapering. I ran nine miles the following Saturday and eight the next Sunday. The next long run should’ve been the full marathon, but that didn’t happen.
I was then faced with what to do for the next two weeks before the Eisenbahn Marathon. Many people recommended just repeating the last two weeks of training, and this is what I’ve been doing. I ran three miles to shake out my legs on Tuesday (I was quite sore from the half on Sunday) and five miles this morning. On Saturday I plan on running anywhere between eight and ten miles.
Here’s the problem: I don’t trust The Taper (capitalization of The was purposeful). If the marathon had been the weekend after the twenty mile run, I feel like I would’ve rocked it. What if I peaked already? How can I trust The Taper when I haven’t run more than 13.1 miles (which I walked more of than I would’ve liked) in almost a month?
All marathon training plans include two to three weeks of taper, so I hate to doubt the running gurus like Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway…but I do. I recall a healthy living blogger with a shirt that read “I’m tapering. Don’t talk to me.” Is what I’m feeling about The Taper what this shirt references?
If I were to guess, The Taper allows your body time to recover and recharge before the big day. This is all fine and dandy for my body, but what about my head? As I learned on Sunday, I can turn into a basketcase during a bad run and psych myself out. I do not want a repeat of the Madison Half at the Eisenbahn.
I am in a better place than I was on Sunday when I wrote about the self-doubt I was experiencing. This post might not demonstrate that, but I am. There are stirrings of butterflies in my stomach when I think about crossing the finish line after four and a half (or more) hours of running. But I still don’t fully trust The Taper.
Any runners out there – did you feel like this when training?