1. a) slender candle, you know the things you buy planning on having a nice candlelight dinner and then they sit and get warped stuffed in a drawer somewhere. b) a long waxed wick used especially for lighting candles, lamps, fires c) a feeble light (what is a feeble light? I light that thought it could but didn't?)
2. a) a tapering form or figure (ok, I definitely don't have a taper body due to my hips and thighs) b) a gradual diminution of thickness, diameter or width of elongated object c) a gradual decrease.
Of course the definition that relates most to running is the last one. There are also fishing rod tapers, taper in geometry, Luer Taper, Machine taper and a taper insertion pin used in body piercing along with other 'tapers".
A taper is supposed to allow your body to rest and repair itself before the race. While the body is resting, the mind picks up the slack and goes full speed ahead. This crazed feeling is referred to as "Taper Madness" on one website. At this point I really haven't decreased mileage much since I'm only in the first week and had only one run, a workout at the track. I really haven't done much tapering but I'm feeling very anxious and worrying about all kinds of stuff. My body has starting having aches that it didn't have before. Last night I dreamed I was running a marathon in 2 weeks and was getting sick. I woke up feeling like I had a hangover .
I think the worst part is the general anxiety. I just can't relax, feel like my shoulders are tense and my heart feels like its pounding quicker and harder. I am looking forward to running tonight as compared to yesterday when I felt no desire to run at all. Luckily it was an off day for me. I'm thankful to have read other peoples blogs over the months to know that I am not alone and this is "normal".
There is a lot of information about what to do during taper. One site says the night before the marathon is NOT a good time for race strategy planning. That should have been done days and weeks prior. I think that is part of my problem I'm continually thinking about the marathon and race strategy. Another site says you may feel sluggish (yep) and then as the body recovers I'll start to feel better and rested. It talks about nutrition and not eating at the same volume and also about carb-loading the final three days. Easier said than done when you eat to combat anxiety.
As I said, there's a lot of information and often the sites conflict each other. One area of conflict is what and how to reduce. Some sites say to reduce both mileage and intensity and others say reduce only mileage. My coach is a believer in reducing mileage but keeping up intensity. Keep doing the tempo run but with fewer miles. Keep going to the track and doing speed work but with fewer reps. This will keep the fitness level high.
I found one document that says a proper taper will allow a 3-5% improvement. At a 5% improvement a 3:30 marathoner can become a 3:19 marathoner. The rule of thumb for tapering is:
- First week taper 20-25% (article say people often do too much this week)
- Second week taper 40%
- Third week 60%
I need to pull out my running schedule and see what and when I'm running. Maybe I'm more anxious because I don't really have a running and nutrition plan these next couple weeks. The obsession continues.......
What advice can you give me during a taper? How do you keep the anxiety at bay?