Surviving the Pre-Taper Slump

26 Apr

I don’t know what it is about the week before you start tapering for a race, but it always hits me hard. My motivation tanks and I would love nothing more than to crawl in bed and not wake up until race morning.

Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic.

But really! I’m not sure if it’s the months of training wearing me down or the temptation of an easy taper week ahead, but that critical final week of training never comes easy. I thought it was just me, but I have two friends running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon this weekend and they described going through the same thing last week!

I’m running the Frederick Half Marathon next Sunday, so this past week was “the week” for me. Knowing what I was up against, I did everything I could to try to overcome my slump and power through my training. These were my mantras for the week:

  • Run early and get it over with – This is true in two ways. First and foremost, I prefer to run in the morning so it’s not hanging over my head all day and I don’t have time to come up with an excuse not to run. During this week, I also tried to get all my runs & workouts in early in the week so my body will have plenty of time to rest. I normally skip a day or two during the week and make up the miles over the weekend, but I didn’t want to back-load my miles a week before race day. Sure, I was dying for a break midweek but I know it will be worth it when I cross the line next Sunday.
  • You can sleep when your dead tapering – Piggybacking off my first point, inevitably when my alarm would go off at 4:45 my immediate reaction was to snooze it and “run later” (i.e. oversleep & then skip my run that afternoon). While sleep is always an important part of training, I know that I’m going to need it more next week while I’m tapering and preparing for my race. So instead of snoozing my alarm, I’d get up and daydream about the mass amounts of sleep I’m going to enjoy next week. Ahhh…
  • Keep your eye on the prize – Pretty straightforward, but it worked. This half marathon is my goal race for the spring season (sub-1:34!) so jeopardizing months of training with one lazy week is simply not an option. Plus, I don’t want to be at mile 9 and have the little voice in my head chirping, “You really shouldn’t have skipped that workout last week…” Best to leave no room for excuses!

I’m really interested to get some thoughts on this! Do you know what I’m talking about, or am I just burnt out??! Do you run into a training slump the week or two before your taper? How do you train through it?

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5 Responses to “Surviving the Pre-Taper Slump”

  1. Jackie Quinlan (@jackiequinlan) April 26, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    OMG. This was totally me last week. I’ve been training for the Nike Half since January, and after getting a 9-minute PR at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler I was PUMPED. Then last week’s long run went badly and I got all kinds of distracted while I was in Boston to watch the marathon. Every run last week was a struggle and I was feeling pretty discouraged. Now that I’ve made it to taper week I’m feeling much better and very happy that I pushed through those sluggish runs. I did my last speed workout yesterday and I’m ready to go! Bring on the carbs and rest!

    • Lara April 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

      Yes! Once I make it to taper week, I know I’ll be happy I sucked it up and ran. You’re going to do great this weekend!

  2. zoeforman April 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Totally know what your going through, I just had the same before London marathon.
    I felt sluggish, had rubbish runs struggling through 3 miles, felt I’d wake up each morning 5 lb heavier through all carb loading.
    But it all came good on race day. Hang in there, trust in your training & the taper :-)
    Good luck

    • Lara April 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Loved how you referred to it as getting “over the hump” in your post! I’m very nearly there… just need to keep reminding myself of that! Time to trust my training and hope for the best on race day =)

      • zoeforman April 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

        You’ll be fine – over the hump – over the finish line !

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