This past weekend marked a significant milestone that’s been enthusiastically circled on my calendar for months.
No, I’m not talking about watching my little brother marry the woman he loves.
And no, I’m not talking about getting the angels back together.
And no, I’m not talking about spending 48 hours with the cutest ring bearer around.
I’m talking about the other, non-wedding related milestone that transpired during the first full week of October. Something not just near and dear to my family’s heart, but a date that’s been looming on the calendar for some 50,000 people worldwide for months and months and months.
That’s right, folks: Tapering for the NYC Marathon has begun.
Tapering, or the three weeks of gradually reduced mileage in the weeks leading up to a big race, is a crucial part of any training plan. But with my marathon training starting way back in springtime, I started to think it would never arrive.
Fortunately, it did, and not a second too soon. After months of structured workouts, I was nearly at that point that I never wanted to see a pair of running shoes again. Add to that the fact that my final 20-miler on Thursday left me nursing a swollen ankle that I [over-dramatically] self-diagnosed as a possible stress fracture, and I entered the wedding weekend not wanting to run again for a very long time.
Three weeks ago, taking off a long weekend from training would have meant a huge step backwards in terms of my fitness, but now that tapering is in full gear, I gave myself permission to take it easy all weekend long, only making it to my feet for important events like walking down the aisle and dancing to Footloose. Ok, and Taylor Swift. Ok, and Shout. (Jeez, Tom, I’d be way more well rested if your wedding band had stunk.)
Sure, the first week of tapering isn’t supposed to be so dramatic — you’re supposed to reduce mileage by 20 percent, not 100 percent — but a wedding-inspired reprieve was just the break I needed to get my ankle and head back in the game. Kick-starting my taper with so much rest allowed me to return to running this week with a new bounce in my step, and good thing, too: I’ve got just two and a half weeks to go!
How is your tapering going? If you’re fueling it with champagne and wedding cake, probably a lot like mine.