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?