Family life

Ultra marathon tapering tips

Jennifer knows that, for some runners, the taper is the hardest part of training.

By Jennifer Pinarski
Ultra marathon tapering tips

A running taper and PMS is a terrible combination. This is how I cope.

In running, the taper is the time before your big race when you cut back on running, adjust your nutrition to top up your glycogen stores and get as much rest as possible so you're ready for race day. All runners — from 5K newbies to ultra runners — can benefit from tapering. Most runners take the taper very seriously, obsessing over carbohydrate and fluid intake and staying off their feet as much as possible. I even found one website that gave strict instructions that toenails should be cut six days before your race. Not sooner. Not later.
Then there is the real life taper of a mother runner. 
I did cut back my running three weeks ago, mostly due to Mr. P's travel schedule and my children refusing to sit in the running stroller. For carbohydrate loading, I've eaten all of the leftover Easter jelly beans and a good amount of Goldfish crackers. Staying off of my feet is impossible because with the gorgeous late spring weather I'm spending every possible minute outside with our children.
That said, I did manage to make time for a pre-race massage (ever thankful for childcare swaps that make a daytime massage possible). But as a typical mother runner, the therapist spotted a banana sticker in my hair at the beginning of the session and picked it out for me. I'm relieved that I was facedown on the massage table so the therapist couldn't see me turn beet red in embarrassment. 
A side effect commonly experienced by tapering runners is something called Taper Tantrums. Others call it 'the crazies.' Basically, this is a runner being particularly grouchy because they are running far less than usual, coupled with anxiety over their upcoming race. When you combine a running taper with PMS, the tantrums are elevated to a whole new level of crazy. Which is why my kids have no more jelly beans left. And all of my family and friends are likely wishing that race day would hurry up and get here (but my husband is wisely keeping his feelings to himself).
I know I'm not the only one racing this weekend. The Toronto Women's Half Marathon, Whitby International Marathon, Sulpher Springs Ultra Marathon, Ottawa Marathon, Calgary Marathon, Royal Canadian Air Force Run and hundreds of other 10K and 5K races across the country.
Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! Tell me: How do you deal with taper tantrums?

Photo by Chloe Hague via Flickr.
This article was originally published on May 25, 2012

Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners

I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.