The “Taper Crazies” are universal, no matter the sport – running, triathlon, cycling – anything that involves a build up of mileage and endurance and then a step back before the big day. And whether it’s a 10K or a marathon, it exists. You train for a race, and you build up to it, you work your way up to the peak of the plan, and then… STOP: TAPER TIME.
Time to pull it back and recover from the heavy mileage. Time to get some fresh legs for the race. Time to let your body recharge.

And during this taper, you may not know what to do with yourself – there is all this newfound “free time” to stress about the race. The training plan called for running a certain mileage a week, so putting the brakes on the energy and intensity that got you through your hardest training weeks, can be a mental challenge.
And the food consumption levels that you have been used to eating because of intensive calorie-burning workouts? Let’s just say that you still want to eat those amounts of food, but you’re not burning the calories to balance it. So you want to eat, and eat, and eat. And eat. And then you stress yourself out about what you’re eating, along with stressing yourself out about the race.

That’s why, ladies and gentlemen, this period is affectionately dubbed the “Taper Crazies” and here are ten things that you should not do during this time:

  1. Eat total crap that you wouldn’t normally eat. Every day of the taper.
  2. Feel guilty about eating said crap, weigh yourself every day, then get depressed about said weight.
  3. Snap at well-meaning friends, trying to make conversation about your race. It’s not their fault that they don’t know that your 5K isn’t a “marathon”!
  4. Try a new sport or adventurous activity with a big risk of injury. (I have only given myself a concussion TWICE, I swear!)
  5. Buy new gels, bars, and hydration to use on race day without first trying them in long training runs.
  6. Buy new shoes to wear on race day for the first time.
  7. Cuddle up to a sick, germy child and give him or her a big kiss.
  8. Stalk weather websites to see if the race day forecast has changed.
  9. Obsessively read race recaps from the previous year’s race, thus stressing yourself about the hills on the course.
  10. Change your game plan for the race based on those recaps. Over and over and over.

It was hard to limit this to just ten things, and I can think of so many things NOT to do while suffering from the Taper Crazies!


By Nichols