I Trust Myself. I Trust My Taper.

A lot of people don’t care for taper.  I’m not a lot of people.  I think the combination of not liking to rest, questioning was your training good enough and having so much free time can get to your head.  For me personally I really enjoy tapering and letting my body relax.  When I tapered for swimming I would constantly remind myself of all the things I did throughout training to get to this point.

During this training cycle I remind myself of the four 20+ miler runs I did.  I also remind myself of the 7 miler I ran directly after the Rock and Roll VA Beach in 80+ degree heat, the 16 miler I ran at goal pace and the pretty consistent miles I put in.  I remind myself daily that I have put in the miles and this is my time to rest and relax.  No amount of training I do right now is going to better prepare me for the race besides…not cramming in miles.  I am cutting my miles by 20% each week and adding a little more speed.

This is my time to rest and recover.  My time to do other things and focus on other things…like blog writing (kidding).  Actually this is my time to focus on other things like hanging out with friends and family and also honing in on my nutrition.  (a post I’ll probably do at another point).  While running is a huge deal of my life, it does not define me.  I want to say when I’m not training I have other things going on in my life.

So my general opinion is that I enjoy taper.  Though I have never fully tapered for a running race I have tapered for plenty of swimming championships.  You must trust your training and trust yourself that you are ready for this race.  I have had both great and poor tapers for swimming.  Some tapers I have swam my best times of the season or my life.  Some tapers I have swam personal worsts and I think the last 2 weeks before any race or meet are the most important.  The delicate balance of being too rested and stiff versus not enough rest and stiff is hard and the threshold is different for everyone.

So yes the last two weeks can truly make or break your race by not listening to your taper.

I trust myself.  I am ready.  I trust my taper and my training.  I trust my body to carry my across the finish line of New York City.  If that is a 3:10 great.  If that is a 4:10 great because I finished.  I truly stand by my comment that finishing a marathon in itself is a great feat and for someone to complain about finishing their first marathon is ridiculous.  The marathon humbles even the best and most prepared runner.

Question for you: Do you like taper? 


  1. I definitely think you got this marathon, Hollie (yeah I probably say that every time I comment but anyway). Glad you aren’t going taper crazy like some people do. My taper was rough but mostly because I was sick (I was sick 3 weeks out which made me taper early, I was planning on only a 2-week taper). You have a lot going on in your life right now with moving, jobs, Tim, etc, and I remember thinking how weird it was to have more time on my hands right before and after the marathon. Sometimes I think it’s race anxiety with things like travel, hotel, etc, that gets people even if they trust they can run the miles because travelling for anything can be stressful.

    I can’t wait to see how you do, is there any way we can track you during the race?

    1. I honestly haven’t looked into race tracking yet. I’m not linking social media accounts to the race because even I think that is a touch too much!

      I understand about being sick…I think I got food poisoning last night. I’m devastated but I hope it passes in three days.

  2. Hollie,
    In a way I do like to taper. After all of the hard work and focus, it is nice to say, I’ll do the short run this Sunday instead of hammering out 20 miles. But, it is difficult to shift gears and back off on the intensity. I know I need the taper but part of me always wants to do the 20 miler. By the time taper time comes around I can run a 20 miler, no problem.
    I think two weeks for a taper is the right amount of time. I took three weeks this time and it was definately too long. I like that you are cutting back 20% per week. That implies a plan which is bound to be mre successful than just winging it.
    Good luck in NY. I look forward to your re-cap.
    Cheers, Andy

  3. Very well written and well said. Do your best with what you’ve got on any given day is my motto. You’ve got this and you will shine on Sunday. 🙂

  4. I love this! You’re outlook on tapering is great. I tend to be one of those people who doesn’t enjoy it, but you’re right-by taper time all of the hard training should be done, it’s time to rest and relax and focus on the race ahead. I’m definitely going to try that outlook before my next race! 🙂 Also, GOOD LUCK on Sunday!! I can’t wait to read about it!!!!

  5. Well, what’s nice about taper is that while you cut down on volume, you do throw in some intensity (miles at marathon pace), correct?

  6. You’re absolutely right in that taper is important. There’s no extra mileage that will make you run a faster race. If anything, it will hurt you. I’m used to taper with swimming because it was forced but with track/xc/road racing, I’ve never done a real taper. My coach didn’t believe in them other than scaling back by maybe 10 minutes. It always paid off a lot in swimming though and my times always dropped dramatically. I’m one of those people that does struggle with taper because I’m used to living such a high intensity life. Suddenly going from exercising for 3 hours a day to 0-30 minutes was hard for me with swimming. I do want to see what a good taper can do with running because I have never really given it a true chance. Your training has been amazing and I really hope this food poisoning passes so that you can run the race you deserve.

  7. Tapering is really hard for me. I guess that is because I spend so much time building up the distance getting ready for a marathon, it feels funny backing off. Having said that, I know it is an important thing and so I do it. Always have to fight that little voice that tells me to go out for just one more run.

  8. I love the taper! I think it is a sign that you have put in all the work necessary and need a break! I am glad that you are welcoming it. So excited to see how you do. I think you’ve got this!

  9. Like you said-you put in the work! Now it’s time to show up and run your heart out. So excited for you 🙂

    When I swam the word TAPER was a god-send. I was always so exhausted of 2-5 hours of swim/dryland a day and the thought of hopping in the pool for a warm up and some sprints and a cool down was fantastic. I miss those days.

  10. You are right to trust yourself. You have trained smart, and will run it just as smart. You have 3:10 in the bag, but most of all, you’re going to love the experience.

    Taper… I don’t mind it (rest + more carbs!) but I ALWAYS discover some ghost injury in taper that sends me into a crazy fit thinking that I wont be able to run the race and ALL IS LOOOOST!! Once I get over that, I tend to enjoy it 🙂

  11. You are so ready for this race!!
    I enjoyed tapering. I enjoyed cutting back on mileage and focusing on other things. Like you said, no amount of work you do during taper is going to help.

  12. I’ve never had to taper for a run except my “taper” for my first half marathon was a day. LOL Looking back, I knew so little about running it was insane. But anyway, I really think you know you’re going to rock NYC. There’s no way you’re going to hit anything over 3:30 and I think YOU even know you’re going to be close to your goal. At least your humble about it 😉

  13. I’ve had good and bad tapers- I find there are things I love and things i hate about it.

    I’m ridiculously proud of you, for all of your hard work and dedication,and for who you are. I love this post and I am so glad you are trusting things right now- you should, because I have 100% faith in you and so do so many others- but more importantly trusting yourself and your training is the best thing you can do for this weekend. No one or nothing else matters but you and what you think- YOUVE GOT THIS

  14. I couldn’t agree more that finishing a marathon is a huge feat in itself. At this point, I can’t even imagine running that kind of distance and I hugely admire anyone who can. I think you’re going to rock NYC, Hollie.

  15. I didn’t read through all the comments so it’s probably been touched. I think with most training plans, yes they have written out the mileages, but they don’t touch on the mental aspect. Yes you need to train physically, but you need to train mentally too as the marathon itself is a big mental game. And the taper screws around with you if you aren’t prepared! Like others, you know you can do it!

  16. Awesome mindset going into the taper. Trusting your training and being mentally prepared is huge! You did a ton of work for this race and it should pay off. I like tapering b/c I’m usually coming off a couple of really hard weeks and I’m ready for rest. If I do it right, I get antsy but only a couple days before the race…just enough time to get excited!
    You are going to CRUSH NYCM!!

  17. I adore the taper! It means the hard work is behind me and I can enjoy shorter distances and more rest days. I don’t understand taper madness. Taper is awesome!

  18. I freaking hate tapering. i always think I’ll like it and then I get cranky when the time comes. In fact, my college coach started giving me a modified taper instead of a full taper because I ran better and he couldn’t deal with my crank attitude. True story.

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