Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hating the taper

Taper. It's a dreaded word by many a runner. It's that time when you significantly reduce your weekly mileage before a big race to let your body rest and prepare. After months of slowly increasing mileage, building endurance, and seeing tangible gains and accomplishments it's hard to downgrade back down to a couple of weeks of easy mileage. While I understand and agree with the necessity of the taper I still dislike it. What is it that we hate so much? For me it's the mental game and the waiting. First, I am not a patient person. I'm not good at waiting. Also, it's often in these taper weeks that questions and self-doubt start to creep in. Yes, idle hands (or feet) are the devil's playground.

"Will I beat my PR?"
"Am I losing fitness with this little mileage?"
"Am I prepared for the race distance?"
"Will I fall on my face?"
"Can I even do this?"

I am entering the last few weeks (days actually) of my pregnancy and I find I'm struggling with the same issues. I'm in a pregnancy taper so to speak. My body isn't allowing me to keep the "mileage" up that I'm used to. Even normal daily routine things have become difficult or just plain uncomfortable. The doctor says Baby Z could come at any time now, but they can't tell me when. I'm having to rest. I'm having to wait.

As with marathon training, the taper sucks.

"Will I be able to handle childbirth?"
"How will I handle the life change?"
"Am I truly prepared to be a mom?"
"Will I fall on my face?"
"Can I even do this?"

Instead of questioning and freaking out about the race, I'm questioning and freaking out about Baby Z. I am running the emotional gamut from excitement for his arrival, to denial (is this really happening?), to fear. One of the things that I find comforting (as cheesy as it sounds) is reflecting on marathon training. I survived the wait then. I completed both marathons with a finishing time I was proud of. I came out on the other side better and improved for all my hard work, perseverance, and patience (what little I have). I CAN do this!

So my question to you is what are your thoughts on the taper and how do you deal with it?


Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen said...

I hate the taper period! I worry the most about losing the training momentum and I go a little stir crazy with the "itch" to get out there for a long run! Overall, I don't do well with them!

Marlene said...

I've read of taper compared to weddings and now child birth. :) It's a great analogy. Home stretch!!!

Princess Sparkle Pants said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

Oh, Jen. I swear, giving birth at the end of a 43 month (well, it felt that long) high-risk pregnancy was a piece of cake. In contrast, running 10K still ultimately kicks my tail. You are going to rock this thing called motherhood!

Adrienne said...

You are going to be a great Mama Jen! Just wait, you will have the natural Mama instinct and know exactly what your baby needs. :)
ps I always doubt taper too and convince myself it's actually hurting me rather than helping....:0

Anonymous said...

Such a cute comparison!

I think one thing that seems to get us first time Moms is expecting baby to come early, making us anticipate each day as 'THE DAY'. Remember that it could still be a while, so you're not so anxious. I wish I had anyway, as I went beyond the 40 weeks.

Good luck!

Jess A @cajunrunnerjess said...

Just a few more days until you begin a new chapter in your life! I am so excited for you! I can't give too much input on this subject since I haven't tapered, I have completely stopped! LOL!

Katie said...

look at that cute belly clock! sorry to be SO BEHIND - i think your due date has actually passed - but this was a great analogy!

Anonymous said...

I'm in taper hell also, but only for the marathon. I warn everyone that I am tapering and will be grumpy. Unfortunately all my runs have gotten faster and more intense because there are less of them. Probably not such a good thing. Double tapering is probably worse! Best of luck, and just remember the lady in the Chicago marathon. Grab a sandwich before going to the hospital! lol