I love the taper crazies is not something that most athletes will tell you but for me it’s true. I have been participating in endurance sports since 2007 and taper has been one of my favorite times of any training cycle?
Taper Is The End Of Training
Why do I love the taper crazies? Simply put, its because I’m nearing the end of the countless early alarms, mundane trainer ride and treadmill runs, checking weather apps and plotting out training schedules.
For 16 weeks, my life is controlled by race day. Toward the end, I just want to be at race day. I don’t enjoy counting life away, but when I am that close to the race, well, let’s race. I love the nervous energy of the starting line. Questioning myself about how much I have bitten off and whether or not I can chew it all. Checking my gear and strolling to the start line with banter amongst my fellow competitors. That is where the magic is. That is where the fun truly starts to percolate.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy training as well. Seeing progress, even if it is slow. Getting excited about going to the gym to lift, hitting the trail ready to run for hours, swimming to aid in my recovery and napping. Oh, how do I love napping.
That is cool for the first 10-12 weeks but then it gets hard and monotonous. The trips to the gym feel like a burden and I search for excuses to bail me out of one more reverse lunge. The recovery smoothie never has the fruit I want because I was too tired to go to the grocery store. The alarm, while low, sounds like nails on a chalkboard. How do I make it stop?
Here Comes The Taper Crazies 😁
Then taper comes. Honestly, the taper crazies never happen for me because I’ve been looking forward to slowing down and not training for 12-16 hours per week. I’m happy to wake up and sit on the couch on Sunday to watch Jane Pauley on CBS Sunday morning then going for my run. The core, stretching and balance work are now a reward and not just another thing in Training Peaks that I have to do.
I can get back into the kitchen and take time to make a meal. Oh, and not just make the meal but also enjoy eating it without worrying about the next days recovery breakfast. For me, the taper crazies don’t enter into the picture. I know that throughout training, I have put in the time and effort. I also know when I haven’t put in the time and effort and the results will show either way.
Taper is an opportunity to reflect on my training and set my goals for the upcoming event. It is in this moment when I can think to myself: I love the taper crazies. I am able to review what has been done and what hasn’t been done throughout the previous 13 or 14 weeks. Those weeks tell the story, not the last week or two before I head to the starting line. I don’t get stressed about the training that didn’t get done because it is in the past and I cannot make it up.
Control What You Can Control
Many people go through taper crazies and for various reasons. They may be worried about the weather, travel and/or asking themselves if they’ve done enough. I’m here to tell you that through experience, you’re spending energy you don’t want to waste. Your training is done and what happens on race day will largely be out of your control by then. Don’t spend those last two weeks worrying about something you cannot control. Deal with the issues that arise in those last two as best you can, but focus on the journey. It will be your time to shine and the race is your victory lap for the work you’ve done.