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The 6 emotional stages of tapering

How you'll feel in the (roughly) two weeks before your goal race

For runners, October mean pumpkin spice season, leaves changing colours and taper time. The taper is when runners decrease their training intensity so that they can be ready to rumble on race day.

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If you’ve tapered before, you know that it’s surprisingly difficult. If you’re entering your first taper, consider this story an insight into the next (roughly) two weeks of your life.

I can’t wait to taper

About two weeks out from your taper actually beginning, you’ll be running one of your biggest weeks of mileage. During this period running will likely feel difficult, you’ll feel a little tried and your looming taper will become a beacon of hope.


Once your taper actually begins, the first few days can feel like agony. After weeks of hard running, your decreased mileage can play tricks on you. All of the sudden, you’ll feel like you’re barely training (relative to what your body is used to). This will lead to a flurry of irrational thoughts along the lines of: “I’ve lost all of my fitness”, “I’m not running enough”, “did I work hard enough during my build” and/or “should I even race”?

I have so much free time

Once you settle in the rhythm of your taper, you’ll realize that you now have copious amounts of free time. You can use these few days to be productive, or you can binge several hours of TV during the slot in your schedule that was previously carved out for running.

I feel terrible

Something strange happens about three days before the race. You’ll go for a run and your legs will feel terrible. Don’t press the panic button, this is normal.

I feel good

After your one-off day of feeling terrible, you will feel fast again. As you do a shakeout before your race, your legs will feel like high-powered springs and mentally you’ll feel ready to tackle a marathon.

I’m ready to roll

The morning of your race comes and you’re pumped. After months of hard work, it’s time to show off everything you’ve put into your build. Go out there and crush your goal race.

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