How many blogs have been written about The Taper? That dreaded pre-race rest that runners worry will somehow thwart their months of training and hard work. I am tapering right now in advance of tomorrow's Garden of the Gods 10-mile race, and will miss my Saturday run, and I'm pretty sure I can feel my leg muscles atrophying while I type.
Runners love to obsess on every detail of The Run, whether it's finding the best shoe, choosing mid-run nutrition and motivating running music, or how well they sleep the night before a race. I confess to obsessing on all of these issues with the addition of my running wardrobe, as I just spent several hours online looking for a pair of shorts that includes the perfect pocket to hold all my needed (?) running gear.
But back to The Taper. Many studies show The Taper produces a stronger runner on race day, as it gives our muscles a chance to build up glycogen stores. But I always worry that I'll eat too much pasta during a period when I'm NOT running, which will only put a little more weight on my hips, making it more difficult to run up that enormous hill to Balanced Rock.
And weight gain is only one concern, my friends. What about loss of muscle mass as my muscles sit idly around for a few days doing nothing but watch other people run by my house? And what are my fellow runners doing? I'm pretty sure they are continuing to run, mostly by my house, which will most assuredly give them an edge on race day.
I could go on about the length of The Taper, whether it's okay to cross-train during The Taper, and whether I can eat meat the night before a race, but this obsessive talk must grow tiresome, so I will end with this:
To all you fabulous runners who will share the road with me tomorrow as we run the GOG 10... to you I wish a most excellent run in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, on a lovely and cool morning, with 2,000 of your fellow, kindred runners. We share a passion for fitness, speed, competition, and fun. Have a great run, and if I were you, I'd eat spaghetti for dinner.
But is a salad okay? And what about a nice glass of red wine?