The Taper Crazies

It’s not you…it’s the taper crazies! After having been through 5 marathon training cycles, I’ve grown to expect certain behaviors/feelings that can as a result of taper time. Everyone’s body is different but weird things happen to nearly every runner I’ve talked to during taper time! Here are some of the things I’ve experienced going through a marathon taper:

1. I am tired all the time. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I got the night before, I will feel fatigued throughout the day and just want to nap (which I do during the weekend but that doesn’t exactly fly at work!).

2. I get random aches and pains that never showed up during peak training periods. It’s normally not a sign of injury, just extra soreness that decides to show up during taper time.

3. My legs feel really heavy. I haven’t gotten to this point yet but I expect by the beginning of next week I’ll feel this way (however, if it doesn’t happen I’ll just be happy, not alarmed). It normally lasts for the week before the marathon but is gone by race day.

4. I feel like I’m getting sick/I might even catch a cold. My throat has been scratchy this week 2 weeks out from the race but it’s hard to tell if it’s just allergies acting up or if it’s this crazy taper fatigue. It normally clears up by rest day so I’m not too concerned when it does happen anymore.

5. I get really grumpy. This I attribute to running less miles and not getting my normal endorphin rush that I’m used to. An advanced apology to anyone who might see me cranky over the next 12 days!

I’m not a doctor, but my explanation for why the taper crazies happen is that my body has been through marathon cycles before and knows that something big is coming when I start taking down my mileage and intensity. As a result, it recognizes that it will need extra sleep and slows me down to keep me from exerting too much energy during the taper. Our bodies are smart and if you’ve been through a marathon training cycle before, it knows that what you’re about to put it through is intense and is going to wear it down for a long time after so it’s trying to get prepared. Fortunately, nearly all of these signs go away come race day and a proper taper leaves you well-rested and ready to go!

Have you experienced any of the taper crazies I’ve listed above or something else? Let me know in the comments section below; I’d love to hear more!

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