The dreaded taper

I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like who I am when I’m not running.

My first ever half marathon is in two days’ time. So over the past few weeks and months I’ve been focusing on training, lengthening distance, building endurance, working out fueling during the run, ensuring my diet is healthy… and for the past week I’ve been tapering, doing very little. I swam on Monday, I ran 5 miles on Tuesday and since that – nothing.

I don’t currently have access to a car, so I haven’t been swimming. I’ve still been walking the dog, of course, but have struggled to meet my step targets this week. I’ve given myself permission to stop worrying about food, so that I reach the race well fueled and ready to go, but the end result has been snacking and almost reaching the point of comfort eating.

What worries me is that on one level it’s been easy. I’ve had more time to get on with other things, and I haven’t really felt any different.

And yet on another level it’s been hard. My routine is built so much around runs and swims and sensible eating that I’ve struggled without that structure. I feel twitchy and as though my fight-or-flight is being triggered for no reason.

So do I run to race? Or does the race get in the way of the running?

Both, I guess. I’ve really enjoyed the longer runs I’ve been doing lately to prepare for it, just getting out there and covering the miles. I haven’t been focusing on speed, but I think that’s what I want to look at when the race is over. And most of all, I want to get back into that routine, because it hasn’t felt right without it.

As usual, I can reflect this onto my writing too. Writing regularly feels good. Suddenly stopping feels bad. After a while the bad feeling fades, leaving me with a niggling feeling that something isn’t right, but with no clear link as to why.

Running/swimming for the body. Writing for the mind. Both essential as part of the regular routine.


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