This blog post is serving as a public service announcement to warn you that I have entered that last week of training for my half marathon, also known as taper week. Taper week is when training is reduced considerably from previous weeks thus leaving the runner with excess time and energy. Some refer to this week as taper madness. Taper week is an important component to any training program as it allows the runner to rest up before race day so the person will compete at his or her optimal level but it also results in undesirable side effects as well. The undesirable side effects include but are not limited to: excitability, boredom, an insatiable appetite, stress /anxiety and obsessive compulsive behaviors.
Let’s look at each of these side effects individually to further understand them.
1. Excitability – It should go without saying that I am super excited about this race! By the time race day arrives, I will have trained for 12 weeks for it, not to mention invested a lot of time, energy and money into it. Taper week is my time to talk your ear off about the race. Prepare yourself for excessive tweets and Facebook posts. And if you are fortunate enough to see me in person, just humor me and my never-ending race chatter.
2. Boredom – My longest run this week is 4 miles! FOUR. MILES! Last week my long run was 10 miles. That is a serious discrepancy in time spent running. What the heck am I going to do with all that free time?! My plan is to pack for the trip and tackle some items on my regular life to do list, you know my life outside of running. But let’s face it, I am probably going to be bored.
3. An insatiable Appetite – This goes hand in hand with being bored, more time on my hands means more opportunity to put food in my mouth. Exercise also suppresses your appetite, so my decreased amount of exercise is going to result in an increase in hunger.
4. Stress / Anxiety – Running helps me manage my stress and anxiety levels. So you guessed it, a decrease in running / training may cause increased stress or anxiety. Hopefully everyone will just be super nice to me at work and elsewhere so I won’t be stressed out. Wishful thinking, right?
5. Obsessive compulsive behaviors – I will be excessively checking the weather for race day, second guessing what I should wear to the race and quadruple checking that I packed everything I needed.
This public service announcement was brought to you by runners everywhere who want to educate you on taper madness and the effects that all runners endure because of it. It is only with public awareness and education that we can ensure that runners get the support and encouragement that they need to survive taper madness.