It’s taper time in the run up to the Virgin Money London Marathon. I’m currently in one piece with no injuries, just the onset of taper madness…

Me and some of the gang at the Oakley 20

Tapering, or reducing the mileage/intensity, in anticipation of a long race is a very necessary part of the training journey. You need to rest, both physically and mentally, to prepare for that 26.2 mile journey that is ahead. 

But idleness doesn’t suit me. Training may be tough, but so is tapering. It’s a mental battle rather than a physical one: quite frankly, the first week was torture! Now after every mile that I’ve left out there on the road during training, running fewer miles leaves me too much time to spend inside my head. And that’s when I start having some rather random/sarcastic thoughts, especially whilst running, such as:

  • Why do I feel like there are two people in my head talking to each other?
  • Why do I refer to myself as a “we” when trying to decide things whilst on a run?
  • It’s really nice of you to turn my run into an obstacle course by leaving your bike lying in the middle of the Redway. No, please don’t bother to move it out of my way; I wouldn’t want to trouble you. I’ll go ahead and run on the wet, slick, muddy, lumpy grass and risk getting an injury which means I won’t be able to do the London Marathon, and then my life will be over and all my dreams ruined, forever, and ever, and ever! *
  • Why can’t my legs and lungs work together? My legs are feeling great but my lungs feel like this is the first time I’ve ever gone for a run.
  • What’s that tightness in my left quad? My right knee has never hurt there before. I think my Plantar Fasciitis is coming back. I’m doomed! *
  • Oooh, look! Grass clippings.

Tapering is difficult, but I will adjust. I’m moving into acceptance but with the realisation that the big day is only 10 days away the nerves are setting in. But I know I’ve trained as hard as I can, and I’ve put in so much effort that I’m not going to risk not making it to the start line. This time I have a proper taper plan, so I’m hoping that helps.

And in the meantime, I’ll keep reminding myself that I am physically ready for this, and all I need to do is keep my head together.

So come on runners, tell me about your taper madness. How does it affect you?

Until next time…

Kassia Gardner



*Yes, a touch of the drama queen as well.