TAPER..... Such an Unexpected part of Marathon Training!

Yes, I am in TAPER mode...... for non-runners, this is the 2-3 week period before a Half or Full Marathon in which the training mileage decreases. Sounds like that would be a BIG relief from the intense and long miles put in during training..... but, noooooooooooooo that is not the case at all!!!!! Let me explain.... Again, I am no expert by any means, but there are 3 main things that I have experienced in tapering, and have learned from information that I have either read or has been told to me............

Oddly, I began to have pain to the top of my left foot, the palm of my right hand, and to the medial aspect of my left knee.... and as fast as the pain came, the pain left...... BIZARRO!!! And this brings me to the following:

#1- "Phantom pain" ....... I was first told that this might happen by one of my running friends that I run long runs with on Sundays...... At first, I laughed when she was talking about this..... but guess what happen the following week?!?!!? Yep, I started to have pain to the top of my left foot!!! Strangely, the pain was not there all the time. Seem to be noticed when walking around my house barefoot. However, the pain just seemed to come and go.... and in no way did it hinder my long run this past Sunday.... In fact, I did not even have the pain once during the run!!!! I was like, this is crazy! Am I making up this pain? I briefly mentioned this to the coach that designed my training plan, and he confirmed that I will have pains during the taper part of the training plan. Annnnddd, that I would have more pain! I might hurt all over!!! Apparently, when the mileage and the intensity of work outs decrease, the body actually goes through a "healing" process. Mainly with the muscles!!!! Who knew?!?! So, I have to ignore these pains and just go with it.... trust the training plan! 

SOoooo, the above photo is an older photo from about 6 months ago, but kind sums up the emotions that one feels inside during taper mode! I mean, the BIG day is APPROACHING and you get on this emotional roller coaster that makes you want to pull your hair out (so to speak, not literally)..... and this brings me to the following: 

#2- "Mental Challenge"........ Oh man, tapering really tests your mental stability and state!!!!!! This was maybe the BIGGEST shock to me!!!! Even if you are not prone to anxiety or depression, you will feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster!!!! And, for girls, oh my.... put this with "that certain time of the month" and you will for sure be tested!!!!! And, I am NOT kidding!!!!!! You have to control your emotions and again TRUST the training plan. Otherwise, with the decrease in mileage and intensity of training, you will start to think irrational and develop anxiety about worrying about your body becoming decondition ..... as if it will become weak and not be able to handle the upcoming 13.1 or 26.2 miles on race day! Mentally, you have to STAY STRONG!!!!!!!  Trust the plan! 

Man, feels like I have 50 something pounds of weight on my legs.... OK, that 50 something pounds is just my 6 year old sitting on my foot, but seriously, my legs felt heavy on my last long run, but not tired... make any sense?!?! And, this brings me to following:

#3- "Heaviness to legs".......Apparently, if you have heaviness to your legs at the beginning of tapering, this is a good thing. Again, during months of intense long training, the body naturally fatigues. You get used to running on tired legs which is needed in order to get you through the entire race distance on race day! Mentally, you can't psyche yourself out by thinking that your body is weak because of this heaviness...... when, in fact, the heaviness is a sign that your training went really well!!!!! Just a another bizarre fact that I have discovered! Yesterday, my legs felt heavy, but not tired. Not sure how else to explain that........ as strange as it is!!!!!! Again, trust the plan!!

SOooooooooo, what to do during Taper Mode to handle the stress, emotions, etc......... first and foremost, KNOW THAT YOU ARE READY FOR YOUR RACE!!!! The work has been done!!!!! Enjoy the extra free time to enjoy family time, activities that you put to the side, or in my case, the cleaning that you have simply not performed in who knows when!!! LOL! It is time to regain your life that existed prior to training!!!!! Embrace the process of tapering and get ready for your BIG day!!!!! Know that when you toe up at the starting line, you have put in the work and now it is your time seize the day!!!!!! 

Gotta run......... UNTIL LATER..........

***** Any taper advice you'd like to share.... Do tell!!!! 

***** Do you tend to embrace taper mode well, or are you filled with lots of emotions? If emotions get the best of you, how do you cope?