Two days before my marathon the “Taper Madness” started setting in. I had NO idea it was an actual “thing” until I was called out (and diagnosed) by one of my friends after posting on our running club board for the 5th time in one day asking silly last minute questions.
So what is “Taper Madness” – it’s the crazy insane thoughts that go through your head when you begin your marathon mileage taper. You get SO used to pouring in a lot of mileage that you suddenly feel like you aren’t training enough.
WARNING: Yes, these were all my thoughts…. and they went in circles in my head for DAYS. So if you can relate know you are not alone on the crazy train ;)
You start over thinking about every run you put in – Did you run too much? Did you not run enough? Should you have done more hill work? Should you have done more speedwork? You double check your elevation gain from previous training runs and compare it to the elevation of the marathon. Then you double check it. Then triple check it. Then search for another mapping system to see if the first is accurate. Then you try to map your own course to see if it’s accurate. Then you contemplate driving the course (which is over 1.5 hours away) with your garmin on your wrist hanging outside the window so you can see your OWN report to know if it’s accurate.
Oh but it’s not over. You go in with the goal of just finishing…. then you realize “but I trained at XX:XX pace – so I should at LEAST make it in by a certain time….. and if I can do that then maybe with the extra addrennaline I can do a little faster…. and if the elevation is correct – maybe that will help… or will it hurt…. maybe I should forget pace and just run. OH but they have pace groups with people who will help pace you! I should join them – but which one should I join? There’s a group 5 min faster than my hopeful time, and a group 5 min faster than my ‘realistic’ time – but do I start fast and slow down toward the end? Or start slow and save energy?
Nope – not done yet. Now you start thinking about bathroom breaks. How much do you drink the week before? The day before? Do you drink that morning? How much DURING the run? What if you have to pee (which SHOULD happen)……. or worse – what if you have to poo? (advice here – take 2 immodium before the start and 1 when you finish) Should you try to go early as a preemptive tinkle? Or stick it out until you actually HAVE to go? How much time will it take? How accessible is my outfit for potty breaks?
Still not done. Is my ‘nutrition’ down? Am I going to gel? use sport beans? chomps or blocks? How much? Am I SURE that 22miles as my longest run is enough? What do I eat the morning before? What do I eat the NIGHT before? What if I can’t eat because I’m too nervous!!??? Should I have been carbo loading the week before? Oh shoot – I should have been. No maybe not. How much water am I bringing – how much water SHOULD I be drinking? Do I bring the 2 bottle fuel belt (which I like better than the 4) and have someone meet me with filled bottles half way? Or the 4 bottle so I’m sure I have water. Should I have that person meet me again at mile 20 just in case I need more?
Oh there’s more…... I think I feel a pain in my knee… is that a pain? I’ve never felt that before. It feels weird.. did I pull something? Is this from the run today? Wow, I think it really hurts. And my hamstring feels tight – omg my hamstring is tight. Should I stretch it? Why does it feel tight. And do I remember a pain on the top of my foot from my last run? Are my shoes laced right? Are they making the top of my foot hurt? Let me post on the shoe company’s facebook page and check. OOHH they responded!!! They showed me a new way to lace my shoes! Ok tried it – it feels good. But do I wear them like this even though I’ve NEVER run this way before and there is no time to test it before the marathon?? It does feel comfortable – it’s just shoelaces right??? Maybe I should wear my old shoes. No they have more than 450 miles on them – that can’t be good…. Ok so new shoes and new lacing method. Oh I forgot about the knee pain – is it still there? Yup! Still there – what IS that??? Oh I hope I didn’t hurt myself on my last run doing speed work. I should have done speed work earlier. WHY didn’t I do speed work earlier. Maybe I should change my time goal.
No stick with the time goal… but what if your gps is off and it throws your average pace off on your watch?? What are those pace bands that people wear? I totally don’t understand those. Google them. OH I GET IT – ok I need a pace band…. what pace do I put on it? Should I make two? (print two) Hmmm maybe I should photoshop them together and have one pace on the left – the other on the right… Now I need a motivational saying or something on it…. OH a pic of my daughter!!! Awww I love this pic of her. Ok, photo and the words “Think Right” (the pace on the right was my ‘DOMINATION’ pace). Print. Laminate in packing tape. Cut out. Think of how to stick it on. Pack it.
Ohhhhh packing for an out of town marathon – holy stress overload…………
Pajamas. Race outfit: Visor. Bondi Band. Long Sleeve Shirt. Short Sleeve Shirt (for options) Sports Bra. Backup Sports Bra. Gloves. Two more pairs of Gloves. Garmin. Garmin Charger. Garmin Heart Rate Monitor. Pants. Backup Capris (in case I change my mind) Favorite Undies. Socks. Backup Socks. Shoes. Backup Shoes. Sports Beans. Chomps. Protein Bar. Fuel Belt. SpiBelt. Chapstick. Hair Rubber Bands. Outfit to throw over my race wear to keep warm. Outfit to wear home. Will I feel like wearing jeans? Jeans. Yoga Pants (just in case)………… if you saw my suitcase you’d think I was packing for a week!!!!!!!!
Ok I wont even go into the details on leaving my hubby with my daughter – picking out her outfit (he has 2 to choose from), making him a list, pre-packing her breakfast to take in the car, packing snacks…………..oh boy.
Taper Madness or OCD – I’m not sure – but a little of both is enough to drive a woman to her breaking point!!!!!!!!!! This stuff is FOR REAL.