Taper Madness


Following yesterday’s whiney, wallowy blog, (Terror and being hated by my own body) I manned up a bit and did some thinking and some googling. It turns out that what I am experiencing is actually a thing. I know. Shocker. Some call it a Taper Tantrum, others Taper Madness. (It’s a thing if Runners World have written about it… )

I thought I would go back to the start of tapering and talk myself through what I’ve actually experienced while reading through the article. It completely rationalised everything and I woke up today feeling still a bit bruised and tired, but much MUCH better than yesterday.

Week 1: “First week of my fortnight off work. Week after my 20mile run/walk/cry/vomit”

Symptoms: STARVING at all times. Completely exhausted. Fell off bike on day two and got a concussion (probably unrelated. I’m accident prone…) Aches and pains. Inability to walk down stairs due to quad-related difficulties.

Explanation: I’ve just completed my longest run. Ever. I’ve also just had a particularly nasty bout of tonsillitis and a week of strong antibiotics. Of COURSE my body is broken.

For Next Time: Make sure not to go out on a bike, drink plenty of fluids, eat plenty of protein and watch the carb intake. Try and maintain mileage over the week to around 30% less than previous week.

Week 2:”2nd week off work. Week after concussion and 1/2Marathon PB”

Symptoms: Craving sugar like some kind of crazed junkie. (Actually considered making sugar-butter icing JUST to eat it with a spoon. THAT is a sugar addiction…) weight gain (thank you sugar), feeling of complete and utter desolation. LOTS of tears. LOTS of tantrums. Inability to walk without a limp. Back pain, hip and knee pain, weird run, weird walk. Just fucking WEIRD. The best way to describe the pain is like being in a dream, when you are trying to run towards or away from something, and you…just….can’t….move.

Explanation: Over the last 6 months, my body has become addicted both physically and mentally to running. And now, after building up for ages, I’ve cut right back. A further 50% to what I was doing before. All of a sudden, I’m moving less and eating more. I’ve put on weight, I definitely do NOT feel strong and I’ve got these phantom aches and pains. When I should be feeling my strongest, I’m actually feeling weak and useless.

For Next Time: Remember that I’m on a come-down. Maintain protein levels at a higher level than normal to aid muscle recovery. Include healthy fats and carbs. The pains are mostly in my head but there is a lot of science that points towards pain coming from the body repairing itself. In the same way a scab sometimes hurts more when it’s healing. A muscle or joint hurts more during it’s recovery. So basically I’m like Wolverine at this point. Only less hairy. (No less grumpy…)

I’m now about to go into week 3. Decided to cool the running off a bit and visited mum today who worked on my pelvis, hams, quads and lower back with massage. That’s certainly eased whatever it was. Last night I walked 3 miles out and 3miles back and it took me over an hour and a half. Very frustrating but I know it’s as important to keep the joints and muscles moving as it is to let them recover.

This week is Sports Massage, final Physio, Gentle Walk/Jog/Runs and pilates with my race on Sunday 25th. Carb-loading will be kept to a relative minimum as I’m already carrying 5 extra pounds of holiday-chub and I don’t want to add strain to my ankles. (I’m certainly no heifer but every little ounce counts) I plan on increasing carb intake over this weekend and into the beginning of next week. From Wednesday onwards I shall cut back and concentrate on grazing. (Basically, instead of 3 meals (1 small, 2 medium) per day, have 4 or 5 small meals containing lighter foods with moderate carb but plenty of healthy fats) Saturday will be the same. With small snacky meals all day and porridge with honey and banana about 2 hours before bed.



Oh shiiiiiit. It’s getting real.

Also, I have now got my race number….


I’m planning on blogging the night before if I haven’t worked myself into a pit of fear and despair…

Anyway. If you’re going to be there on Sunday 25th, look out for me. I’ll be the one smiling at the cameras and trying not to collapse in a heap….