I’ve been running marathons for 14 years, and Columbus will be my ninth to date. I’m no longer a novice, so I have to assume the jitters and anxiety that come with tapering are normal. So I did some research (because that’s what you DO when you taper), and it’s true: we all get a little crazy at precisely three weeks before race day.
And it’s more than mental, there are actual physiological reasons as well. When you go from full-throttle to idling, your body doesn’t know what to do with the excess energy. Here are some tell-tale signs that you or someone you love is in full-blown taper madness:
- General crankiness. They’ll blame it on lack of sleep (which can be real) or random happenings throughout the day, but in reality, nothing in life has changed, they are just super high-strung. If they yell at you for washing their arm band without their permission, don’t take it personally. They were emotionally attached to the salt stains, nothing more.
- Germophobia sets in. The co-worker who starts sneezing and coughing becomes your worst enemy. If they make me sick, I swear to OMG GO HOME!!!
- You hear people talking about things, but unless they mention running, you can’t follow.
- You ponder the credentials of meteorologists and weather sites. Google: how accurate is the Farmers Almanac?
- Every single run, from here on out, feels inadequate.
- Your jeans feel tighter, and the scale starts to creep up. Cue more crankiness.
- Your obsession with running in general has turned to obsession with your race specifically. Where are the hills? I’m running through Ohio Stadium, what? I NEED MORE INFORMATION.
- You have to-do lists for an event that is three weeks away, and it’s not your wedding.
- All of the confidence you gained from your great 20-mile run is long gone and replaced with doubt that you can even finish a four-mile jog. Fight the negative talk!
The emotions you feel right now are valid, so let them flow. You aren’t crazy, you’re just in crazytown, and that’s perfectly normal. Enjoy the ride and expect the same feelings to resurface on race day. Greet them, let them go and keep on shuffling to the end. — Amie