WELCOME TO THE TAPER.
It’s weeks before the marathon. You’ve put in the work. Every weekend, you’re breezing through 15 or more miles. You feel the power of all that training coursing through you. Then, the rug gets ripped out from under you. Suddenly, those long runs are replaced with a lousy 3 miler.
Marathon training almost makes you a drug addict for the runner’s high. It makes everyone go a little crazy when it grinds to a halt, but it’s an essential part of training. If you’ve never run a marathon before, the second the gun goes off, you’ll realize how important that rest was.
When you inevitably go crazy during those weeks, there are some preventive measures you can take.
Go for a Walk
A common misconception is that “rest” means you should sit in bed all day and sleep. In fact, you can do some physical activity, just don’t overexert yourself. For me, the best part of marathon training is being outside. I think that’s why so many articles mention “stir crazy” when they talk about tapers. Vitamin D and people watching are good for you, so keep on getting your doses. There’s nothing wrong with going for a little walk during a taper.
Sprint as Much as Your Heart Desires
When the 10 milers turn to 3 miles, sprint. It’s the best way to tire you out and reduce some of that pent-up energy. Since the fall temperatures have cooled off from those hot summer runs, you’re going to be shocked at what your body can do.
Tackle a Project You’ve Been Putting Off
With all the structure of marathon training gone, runners can’t help but feel a little lost. Marathon training is time-consuming, so this is the time to take advantage and appreciate the extra few hours you have. Go on Pinterest and pick a DIY project. Visit your grandma that lives two hours away. Clean out the rain gutters. Getting all the stuff done that you’ve been putting off feels just as good as a runner’s high.
Have a Netflix Marathon
Because sometimes the best thing to do is turn off your brain. When in doubt, just go for a Netflix marathon. Or kill two birds: stream a running movie for some inspiration. Some good picks are The Barkley Marathons and Run For Your Life.