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Training Taper

by Meghann on December 19, 2012

I woke up Saturday and Sunday morning feeling off; I had no plans to run, no where I needed to be, and no reason to set my alarm earlier than 8:00am. For the remainder of the weekend I felt antsy, lazy, and slow, as if I was tapering for a race that didn’t exist.

For the last few weeks I’ve been enjoying a mini-break from running and racing. Yes, there have been some casual fun runs three times a week, but no speed training, racing hard, or running too far. Last week I ran a total of 12 miles and I’m set to do about the same this week. That anxious feeling I felt on Saturday and Sunday? It’s my body trying to figure out what the heck is going on, I’m pretty sure I haven’t taken this big of a break since I start running in 2008.

I see this break as my taper time before I dive into training for Ironman Florida in 2013. Next year is going to be hell (in a good way!). Training for a full Ironman isn’t as simple as following a 16-week plan (at least not for a newbie like me), it’s about building a base first, then basically dedicating half of your time to either being in the saddle, in the water, or on the road. I won’t be training to break records or qualify for Kona, but I will train to be the best triathlete that I know I can be and finish that race well before the seventeen hour cut-off.

I’m trying to enjoy this break because I know I have another one until November 2013. So while my legs might be itching to run, I’m holding back and giving them their rest, hopefully they’ll appreciate it soon.

For now I’ll take these anxious feelings I have as a good sign. When you’re in taper mode and you start to feel antsy, that’s when you know you’re ready to race. When you’re taking a break and you start to feel antsy, that’s when you know you’re ready to train again. I still have a couple of weeks until I’m 100% ready to dive in, but I’m getting there.

Have any other runners had taper-like symptoms when taking a break?

I really enjoyed today’s lunch, a good mix of hot and cold.


The “hot” was the two multigrain Wasa crackers toasted with turkey, cucumber slices, and cheese. I let everything broil in the oven for a few minutes, which made for a crispy, melty pairing.


The cheese was some Old Amsterdam Gouda the company had sent me to review.


The gouda was a little creamier than other goudas, but still very rich and flavorful, as any good gouda should be. I loved the extra bit of saltiness it gave to my toasted open-faced Wasa sandwich creation.


The “cold” was the raw broccoli I was too lazy to cook.


The raw broccoli worked just fine for me. πŸ˜‰

1 Natalie @ will jog for food December 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I love tapering, it’s the best part of training πŸ˜‰
Natalie @ will jog for food recently posted..Week 24 – Drunk Dreams

2 Maureen December 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I have definitely felt taper symptoms when I’m on a break. For the past few weekends, I haven’t known what to do with myself without a long run (or any run) on my schedule. I know I’ll appreciate the break when training resumes next year, but it has been harder than I expected. Good luck with Ironman training! You’re going to rock it!
Maureen recently posted..The Bar Method

3 Michael Anderson December 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I started a ‘running streak’ just after taking a slow couple of days following a half-marathon in early November. This dovetailed nicely into the Runner’s world thing as well. My streak is now up to 40 days of a minimum of 4 miles per day, most days ~7 miles.

I have no idea what I will do if I don’t run one day …
Michael Anderson recently posted..IK Multimedia Releases AmpliTube Jimi Hendrix for iOS

4 Beth December 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I only have Ragnar coming up and I’m in total fake taper mode myself. I can’t even look at my bike without pangs of guilt. Lol! Maybe we can just taper together. I can’t wait to watch your training for Ironman. As I said, you can be our guinea pig. πŸ˜‰
Beth recently posted..Florida Half Marathon Race Report

5 Ebernst December 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I totally feel you on this one! I’m in a weird post-racing season taper right now (combined with being injured) and I’m not exactly sure what to do with myself. No need to swim (or bike) or run 10 miles on Sunday morning!

I’m trying to really enjoy resting (and drinking way too much beer on Saturday nights) because come the new year training begins again! πŸ™‚

6 Natalie @ Free Range Human December 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Enjoy your break! The training you are about to embark on will be intense. You deserve a little rest.
Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted..Never A Loss For Words!

7 Jamie December 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I don’t know what I’m talking about, since I I’ve never been in your position. maybe that antsy feeling is a tiny bit of stress too? holidays and your wedding?! crazy awesome! you know how much sh*t you can let go of through physical activity? MAN that feels good! maybe do more yoga and maddie walks and enjoy dreaming of the next few weeks ????

8 Annette @FitnessPerks December 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Take the break πŸ™‚ The body likes rest before heading into something tough! I agree.

Mmmm gouda sounds soooo tasty
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..4 Ways to Curb Emotional Eating + fitmixer Updates

9 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats December 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I’m feeling antsy right now but I’m not tapering on purpose, I’m injured!
Katie @ Peace Love and Oats recently posted..WIAW–Chef Earl’s Style

10 Sara @ fitcupcaker December 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Breaks are good sometimes! πŸ™‚ I love melty cheese on sandwiches!

11 Stephanie @ Steph's Miles December 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Yea, enjoy it now because you have a huge challenge ahead of you for next year’s race!
Stephanie @ Steph’s Miles recently posted..Strawberry Stuffed French Toast and Living a Little

12 ct cupcake December 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

you’ve got a busy and exciting few weeks ahead of you, so enjoy.

sidenote-that is a tiny, tiny lunch you’ve got there.
ct cupcake recently posted..Gifts for Your Fave Runner…

13 Steve December 20, 2012 at 10:04 am

I hear ya. This is also my off season, but I can’t find the off switch. I don’t start training for my marathons/tri’s until February.
I find myself going into a session chill & relaxed, but by the end, I’m full on – heart rate at 170+ haha

14 Briana @therunningspeechie December 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I’m basically tapering right now when I shouldn’t be! I’m running the Disney World Marathon in 4 short weeks and last week I ran 8 miles! I am in serious trouble! So I guess you could say I’m experiencing some feelings of guilt and “I’m le screwed….” yikes! I can’t believe you’re doing an IronMan in 2013 – I have a couple friends who have done IronMan Florida and they said it was life-changing, I don’t know how it couldn’t be! Can’t wait to read all about your crazy training plan for THAT!

Briana @therunningspeechie
Boston, MA

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