what does taper mean?

I began my marathon training in May.  I began with 8 weeks of pre-training.  It took me from not having run in months to running 3 miles.  It helped me build a base for the official marathon training that began in July.  From July until now, each week has added more and more miles to build up my training and endurance.  If we are Facebook friends, I am sure you noticed over the past months the occasional status update with that days mileage.

In the beginning it was just Saturday’s that were considered “long”; of course at the time long was 6 – 8 miles.  How quickly I found my mid-week runs beginning to grow, reaching 7, 8, 9 miles on a Tuesday!  Tuesday’s quickly became a least favorite day of mine.  Forget the Monday blues, how about the TUESDAY TERRORS!  Two weeks ago consisted of my biggest running week of all with two 5 miles (Mon/Thurs), Tuesday’s 10 miles and Saturday’s 20 miles.  I’m just tired saying it.  So when people ask me now how my marathon training is going, my response is one of great joy.  It’s great because I am tapering!  I can tell for most that the term does not register in their mind.

So what does it mean, to taper?  In simple terms, tapering is the gradual reduction of training mileage (intensity and duration) as you edge closer to race day.  It means that once I hit my 20 mile run, it was time to slowly back down with each week asking less and less of me.

Tapering is such an important and essential part of training.  Though it may not always feel like it, tapering is what your body need’s.  Sometimes you just feel like you are being lazy when you are really doing what you are supposed to be doing.  It is a time that allows my body to recover and repair itself before facing the full 26.2 miles.  Everything I do in these last few weeks is essential, from what I eat and drink to how much rest I get to how I walk.  (So perhaps not everyone has to worry about how they walk, but for someone as “prone to accidents, slips and falls” as I am, I need to seriously watch my walking.  Today alone I tripped twice in a five-minute period.  Enough said.)

Tapering may sound easy.  What’s so hard about taking a break from all the hard work?  You would be surprised how accustomed my body has come to all this hard work.  Last week’s 8 mile run felt like a regular jog in the park.  At first, right after my 20 miles, I was so very excited for tapering.   I. Was. Ready. for a break and there are days I am so thankful for this break.  However I have to tell you, I am only a week into it and I am starting to sense in me the feelings of wanting to do more, thinking I should do more.  It’s a temptation, one I must resist.  Tapering is hard work.  It is hard to sit back, trust in the past months training and be confident that I am ready for my first ever 26.2 miles!!


Now for the winner of this week’s giveaway, Blake Mycoskie’s Start Something That Matters!!  Drum roll please……okay, so only one person entered the giveaway.  I was going to take a picture of my sad face next to a bowl with only one slip of paper, however I decided that I am extremely thankful for my one entry!!  I am thankful for you ERA, my book giveaway winner.  Hooray!!  I rejoice over my one entry because regardless of how many people entered, I have fun giving it away!!!  I just may include a little something extra for you since you took the time to answer.  Era, you are such a good friend!!

I also am not going to let it deter me from this weeks giveaway.  That’s right, I have another giveaway planned for this week.  I am almost done with the book for this week the only hint I will give you is that it is the story of a lost boy.  If you don’t know who the lost boys are, it’s time to go google yourself some information!  This is one of those stories you don’t forget!

13 days till the ING NYC Marathon

Would you consider supporting me as I take on my very first marathon, the NYC Marathon, by sponsoring a child through World Vision today?  One child for one mile.  Find out more about child sponsorship here.

2 thoughts on “what does taper mean?

  1. Oh, the taper!! I remember those feeling so vividly. Race day is getting so close – I’m beyond excited for you. And, I’m pumped to have a new book to read!! Thanks Rachel.

  2. It’s great to read about your training and your family please send my regards to Mr Huzband and I will be calling you guys soon so we can meet up in Staten Island on race day. Only 12 days left………..John C

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