Most training plans include a tapering period 2-3 weeks before a marathon. This means you run less, and slow the eff down in fitness and ideally in life. The theory is the work is done, your strength and endurance are built and it’s too late to try to work on speed. Now it’s time to relax and get/be healthy. The goal is straightforward: Show up to the marathon well-rested and eager to run.

I’ve heard the taper can make you go crazy. Some dub the moody response some runners have “Taper Tantrums.” I figured I’d have some issues here, but it’s not what I predicted. I expected to feel the desire to run more than I was permitted to and to feel frustrated and nervous about the lack of mileage, but au contraire. All I want to do is sit on the couch, forget running, take some naps and eat pretzel croissants from City Bakery. (I’m averaging three a week. Too much?)

wedding photo

I would like to interrupt this complaining with a gratuitous wedding photo!

I ran 4 miles yesterday at a 10-minute per mile pace (on the slow side for me) and it was a workout, not a casual jaunt in the park. Everything feels HARD.  I’m still sore from the 21 mile run. Which was like, 10 days ago. So I’d say things are going only OKAY. I feel DONE.

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Training for your first marathon is a big undertaking; I know, I’m doing it now. I’ve asked some of my friends with a marathon or two (or five) under their belts to share wisdom borne from past experience. Here’s what I learned:

TRAINING

Nutrition

“SALT SALT SALT. I can’t emphasize this enough. I literally ate salt packets when it was really hot. Each time you do a water break have a salt break also. I found that JUST drinking Gatorade didn’t cut it.” -Steph G, 3-time marathoner

“Gatorade is key on any run longer than 12 miles.” -Aman S, marathoner

“Though one should keep to a nutrition plan that they’ve set for themselves and not change too much (and practice it on your 20 milers!!!) I did find eating the bananas given out on the course really helpful! they don’t upset your stomach and you can eat them easily while running.” – Camilla G, 2-time marathoner

Marine Corps Marathon 2013

Karen V after the Marine Corps marathon 2013

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This Sunday, I marked another year around the sun and Cuckoolemon celebrated its third birthday. Thank you for all the kind birthday wishes on social media and IRL. If you have a child under six and s/he has not yet recorded a video singing “happy birthday,” I will still be accepting submissions until the end of the week. Those videos are my absolute favorite and I watch each of them minimum 10x with a huge smile on my face.

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Hi lovelies.  How was your week?

Does anyone else read Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog? It’s on my Feedly feed, but I don’t read it every week. But I happen to take a look recently, and a post really hit home for me. I’ve been feeling a bit stressed. (I wrote about it here.)  Leo wrote about his method for dealing with stress and I thought it was worth sharing.

In other news, I want to start sharing a song of the week with these weekly fitness rundowns. Interested? Great. Let’s start right now.

This week’s tune: “I’m glad I hitched my apple wagon to your star” by The Boy Least Likely To

It’s not new, but I re-found it and re-fell in love with it. It’s upbeat and has a unique yet catchy sound.

Now for our regularly scheduled recap:

Monday: I took a class called “Endurance” at Uplift Studios. It was a fabulously fun and challenging workout. Lot’s of jumping around and tons of strength work with weights. Also, great 90s music.

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