Taper Time Equals Restless Mind

There are three weeks left until the Chicago Marathon which means it’s almost taper time and my mind is starting to get restless. With 4 weeks to go, I did my last 20-miler and in the week leading up to it was feeling ready to be “done,” ready to taper, let’s get to the race already! I was physically tired but that last 20-miler hit the spot. After that run, I felt physically and mentally ready. And then a funny thing happened. I looked at the remaining three weeks of training — it’s really only one more solid week of hard runs and two weeks of taper — and all of a sudden my mind goes wild. One 16-miler, one 10-miler, and then it’s race day! It’s a feeling of not quite panic, excitement, and an immediate unsettled feeling of what will come next. Chicago will be my 12th marathon and this feeling, this “what’s next” feeling comes every. single. time. Part of it is a reflection on training and whether or not I prepared as best I could. Invariably, I have not. Somewhere along the way my strength work, core work, amazing diet…it all falls off a little. I go through fits and spurts of nailing all the pieces of great training. And then I get to taper time and start to “what if” my training. What if I had figured out how to get up even earlier so I could still do core work after my 9-miler and finish prepping lunches and get kids ready for the day, and get to work on time and…? I go into analysis paralysis of my current training. To get myself out of analysis paralysis I start to overthink life post-marathon. I think about all the things I will do differently this time in between marathons.

This year I will have basically all of Q4 (Oct-Dec) before marathon training for Boston 2018 ramps back up (as of publishing my registration is not yet accepted but I’m really hoping beating my qualifying time by 7-minutes will do the trick) in January. I’ve never gone dark during the winter but this year I am looking forward to truly cross-training. For real this time. I also hope 2018 to be the year that triathlon makes its way back into my life…after Boston, of course. So as my tapering weeks start to appear on the calendar, I am finding myself obsessing over all new training. I’m dog-earing every new core and strength work-out in Runner’s World. I’m super close to actually clicking on the BeachBody ads that pop up in my social media streams. I’m fantasizing about going and getting my ass kicked at Rev Cycle Studio. And pilates on Sundays. It’s non-stop.

And when I’m not thinking about life post-marathon, I’m stalking Instagram runner photos, memorizing the Chicago course, visualizing the entire experience, comparing Chicago’s weather to my hometown.

If my mind isn’t wandering all over training and race scenarios, it’s generally work obsessed, or family obsessed. But since it’s taper time, I am also not over-exerting. Instead of actually remodeling the basement (Who are we kidding though? I don’t know how to remodel!) to make it a warm and cozy kid zone I simply think about it. I picture all the zillion little Legos in neat organized containers. All the baby gates we no longer need, poof, magically gone. The old games, books, piles of dusty things…in my mind they all disappear. Similarly, in my mind, we have new closets, a storm door installed on the front, a new storage bench and shelves in the entryway. Non-stop.

All this “free time” during tapering, it really makes for a restless mind. Let’s just get to the start line already!

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