As the second week of October comes to a close, the sounds of autumn are acutely apparent, especially when your friends are as hipster-smug as mine.
“I love it when the leaves change colors.”
“This pumpkin-spiced latte is delicious.”
“Let’s go apple picking in upstate New York, carve organic gourds from the Union Square farmers market, sample six varieties of Oktoberfest beer and then snuggle in front of a fire. All while wearing flannel.”
And if you’re a runner like me, there’s one more surefire sound that fall is upon us:
“I’ve started tapering for the marathon and it’s driving me crazy.”
Tapering, or dramatically reducing your weekly mileage ahead of a big race, only takes a few days for shorter events, but when approaching 26.2 miles, the process takes the better part of a month. The slowdown is gradual, with most experts recommending a 20- to 25-percent slide in mileage each week, primarily through a shortening of the weekly long run. On my schedule, for example, my long run drops from 20 miles last weekend to 12 this weekend to 8 the Saturday before the race. My mid-week runs also pull back, shaving a few extra miles off my weekly totals.
The reduced mileage is intended to allow athletes to rest and reload their muscles ahead of the big day. And according to everything I’ve read about the process, it apparently drives most runners ape-shit crazy.
“Both veterans and newcomers often find it difficult to scale back their mileage, kick up their feet and coast into race day,” says this Runner’s World article. This affliction, dubbed “taper crazies,” is said to make runners anxious and agitated and lead-footed, and – as if we weren’t annoying enough – really darn annoying.
Well not this runner. Sleeping in later every single morning? Spending less time on these achy legs? Still getting to carb load like it’s my job? Who doesn’t like these things? No offense, but I categorize people-who-hate-tapering alongside people-who-order-their-steaks-well-done and people-who-drown-puppies.
Heck, I like tapering so much, I might just run the NYC marathon next year for the tapering alone.
(Of course, I may be eating my words in two week’s time. But as long as I’m still also eating 2,500 calories of carbohydrates a day, that’s A-OK in my book.)
How is your tapering going? And are you upset I haven’t included a gratuitous golden-doodle photo in today’s post? Well, fine. If you insist. God, you guys are pushy.