Tapering – in Sickness and in Health


September 24, 2012 by Lisa Run Fast Mama!

Taper – what is that you might ask?  A Taper is a period of rest before competition.  During a taper, an athlete reduces mileage, tweaks their nutrition and allows their body to rebuild and heal after a grueling training period in preparation for the big event ahead.  For me, the taper started for the Chicago Marathon on September 16th after running 20 miles on the 15th.

Everyone handles tapering differently, it is really hard NOT to run when you are used to doing it.  It is hard to sit still, even worse, it is hard to be sick.

When I woke up in Germany Friday morning, I was congested.  The kind of congestion that told me a sinus infection was on its way.  Granted, this was somewhat expected after being subjected to all of the smoke in Germany all week.  I was hoping my immune system was strong enough to prevent this.

I was awake a total of 23 hours straight on Friday, stuck on an airplane for 12 of those hours, in dry conditions.  I was in airports, cars, and all sorts of public places were germs were rampant.

Saturday I had 12 miles planned, they didn’t happen.  My sinus issues were in my face and chest and everyone told me to relax.  Two miles were on the schedule for yesterday, they didn’t happen either.

I ended up heading to urgent care today hoping for some relief as I feel like crap and the marathon is less than 2 weeks away. I certainly don’t feel well enough to run anytime soon.  The doctor said everyone is coming down with a virus in the area and everything looks normal – ears, nose, throat, so she does not want me taking any antibiotics now.  I get that, but then marathon is in 2 weeks – less than that!  Kinda makes me panic and I do not think it is a good idea to be on anything when I am running it.

I left with the instructions if I am not better by Thursday or Friday I can start a Z-Pac.  That will be a 5 day dose to get me cleared up and done with the course before the marathon.  In the mean time I need to rest, properly hydrate and use a saline nasal spray.  UGH.

Everything I have read and been told about the taper period is you are not going to do anything more to better prepare yourself mileage wise.  All of the hard work and preparation was done in the weeks leading up to the longest run.  It is better to show up under trained than mess with the taper and risk injury.

I need to remember that, as it looks like I will be missing my run tomorrow as well.  I am very thankful I got my 20 miles in and the training leading up to that point.  I am ready, just need to remind myself that the most important thing I can do for preparation is rest and hydration.  Easier said than done.


5 thoughts on “Tapering – in Sickness and in Health

  1. Amy says:

    That sounds like a heck of an illness. I hope you start feeling better soon. And I would do the same thing…running right now when you aren’t feeling well probably won’t make you any healthier.

  2. CoachKen says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize something was going around because I’ve encountered a slight cold too! I was still able to run but was feeling it later in the day.

  3. Jenna says:

    So sorry to hear about your sickness!! That’s the worst!! Hang in there and take care of yourself! That’s the most important thing!! Spa love :0)

  4. I am there too…sick as a dog, was tricky just to get out of bed let alone to work…trying to make the best of it!

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