I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest struggles when training for a big race is dialing things back in order to taper leading up to a race.
The taper crazies are real, y’all!
The more experienced I’ve become as a runner and racer, the better I’ve gotten at dealing with the taper crazies.
How? I’ll tell you.
3 Tips for Taming the Taper Crazies
- Ignore the Phantom Pains: One of the craziest things that I’ve experienced, and I know I’m not the only one to feel the same way, is the occurrence of phantom pains. Basically, phantom pains when something that hasn’t hurt for your entire training cycle all of a sudden starts to ache randomly. I don’t know what brings these things about, but I’ll be damned if I don’t experience some form of phantom pain during every taper period. It could be knee pain, plantar fascia pain, shin pain; whatever body part starts to “hurt” hasn’t once caused an issue in the past 4 months and all of sudden it’s acting up 10 days before the race. Here’s the thing about phantom pains though, nothing is really wrong. I don’t know why our brains do this to us, but if you just ignore the phantom pain as soon as you start running you’ll be fine. I promise.
- Trust the Process: There is a reason that every good training plan includes a taper period before the race. Training for a long race takes a toll on your body, and if you want to perform your best on race day you need to give your body a chance to fully recharge before you go out and race hard. There’s nothing that you can do from a workout perspective two weeks before a race to improve your fitness, and cutting back on the volume and/or the intensity of your training for two weeks isn’t going to harm your fitness either.
- Don’t Go Rogue: Whether you’ve been working with a coach or training on your own, you’ve been following some type of training plan to help you get ready for this particular race. So if your coach or your training plan is telling you to dial things back for two weeks before your race, do it! You’ve trusted the process up to this point, and only a severe case of the taper crazies would cause you to think that NOW is the time for you to throw caution to the wind and do your own thing. Stop it.
You Can’t Prevent the Taper Crazies, You Have to Manage Them
I wish I could tell you that after a certain point, you’d pretty much be immune from the taper crazies.
Some races bring out the worst of the taper crazies, whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned vet.
Just know that they are a normal part of the process, and they won’t derail you unless you let them.
Don’t let them.
What do You Do to Manage a Case of the Taper Crazies?
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