Thursday, November 1, 2007

Damn The Taper!

I just finished reading Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and I remember a line that will stick with me for a long time. Baba is in a bar with his son, a bit inebriated, and is celebrating his son's graduation. At one point he stands up, taken by the moment and the revelry of celebration, and yells "Fuck the Russia." A classic line. Not only for its succinctness but for its ability to capture the cultural aspect. I so want to stand up and say "Fuck the taper."

But I won't. I can't. Last night I was itching to go out. Great weather, calf is healed, everything aligned. So I started thinking, nay, trying to talk myself into throwing my running shoes on and taking them for a spin. I've had to battle this demon a lot this past week.

I mean, there is so much the taper causes that goes against the grain.
  1. It doesn't allow me to run when I want. I feel I can run a ton, but I know I can't, and that is frustrating. Not only because of the taper but because I want to be sure my calf is fully healed.
  2. The weather is perfect for running. I step outside and feel the air, breathe it in, look at the falling leaves and think to myself, "What great weather to run in" only to turn around and walk back into the house.
  3. Finally, I feel like I gain weight during this week. That I eat more and become more lazy because I can't go outside and run. It is so strange to feel so healthy during a run, in fact during the run I will do this weekend, and yet the weekend before I feel unhealthy because I can't run. Strange.

Ultimately I know what I must do in order to better my chances at running the marathon that I want.

It doesn't mean I have to like it.

(and I won't like it when I can't run the week after because of sore joints and muscles, so I will have to go through all this again)


jfcannon said...

Brian, you don't like the taper because you apparently don't appreciate its virtues. First, taper doesn't mean "don't run," it means "reduce your amount of running." Get out on the road and knock off 4 or 5 miles at, say, 75% marathon effort. This clears out the cobwebs and loosens you up and helps you feel alive. This is much superior to sitting on your butt, eating too much, and complaining that you can't get out and run on a beautiful Fall day. You will love the taper if you treat it as a taper off and not as a quit. (And keep the F-word to yourself, man, this is a family site.)

Brad said...

Good luck at the SV Marathon!

Eh...I say the f-word can stay. What the hell...right?

Bill Carter said...

I friggin' hate the taper! But you've got to do it. I'm doing my own modified taper for Richmond because I just can't handle 3 weeks of blah. It leaves me feeling fat and my legs feeling heavy and stale. It also seems to wreck my confidence. Anyway, I read a great article by Alan Culpepper that claims a 2 week taper is better anyway. So that is what I'm doing.
Best of luck.

Brian Hawkinson said...


I certainly appreciate the virtues of the taper and thus the reason I am doing it! And a "taper" can be whatever you want it to be. I'm not following some store bought marathon manual and following their taper rules. I'm doing what I feel works best for me, which is no running the week before and letting everything heal up. And it has worked wonderfully, just as I am sure your gradual taper works for you. (keep in mind I also had a sore calf the beginning of the week, and another reason why I am not running, to let that heal completely).

And how is my blog a family site? Can't quite understand that. Do you understand the concept behind a blog? To each his own? I write what I want. I am not expecting children to be reading this nor do I care if someone is offended by fuck. I used it in context to the reference I was making. It fit, so I used it. Mind you, the first time I've used any swear word on my blog, and not because I am opposed to the words or am easily offended by them, but because I didn't want to use them.

It's funny you create a profile just to comment on my blog, and with no personal information, blog. Nothing. I suppose you like to hide behind that anonymity for some reason.

I blog and run different then you. Doesn't mean I'm right, doesn't mean your right.

Brian Hawkinson said...


Thanks! I'm so looking forward to this race. I've purposely not raced much the month of October in order to train more and... Lets just say I'm itchin' to run.


Yeah, I hear you. My taper is much different. I know I can't and won't ever be able to be a speedy marathoner, so I run pretty much until the week before the marathon and then stop and rest. My legs recuperate fast and I have found that resting the legs for 5-7 days works wonders for me.

I don't put in near the amount of miles you do so the two to three week taper is definitely a must. Over 2,300 already! That is impressive.