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Taper Madness: Dealing with those last few days (Revisit)

And if you are a runner, be sure to enter my Suzlyfe’s Runner Box Giveaway so you can try new things!

Good day all! I had a great weekend! After a night out with friends Friday, Saturday was chill and relaxing (with quite a bit of “me” time on Saturday); and then in vivid contrast Sunday was chill and relaxing (with double the friends and waaaay more movement!) . Oh, and I had pizza both nights. And froyo on Friday (ps, the Taro flavor by Forever Yogurt is actually delicious!). And I baked. And made 3x Protein Egg Cups. And I raided Fresh Market which was awesome (allllll the trail mix and nuts and fun food finds).

Yup. It was a goooood weekend. So, let’s hit the ground running this week! harhar I so funny. 

Thanks, Katie!

Thanks, Katie!

HOLY BALLS PEOPLE. In 2 short short weeks, I WILL be calling myself a 2x marathoner. It’s going to happen if it kills me. I have to say that I feel like I am in just the state of mind that I need to be before the big day. Kind of like with my wedding: in both of these cases, I am going in with the idea that I’ve done the leg work (this time way more literally), I’ve prepped, I’ve planned, but I’m honestly not putting any pressure on the big day itself, other than to accomplish the main goal in a timely fashion, have fun, and just enjoy it as best I can. I can only control the day as much as I can, but I can control my reaction to it.

So in the spirit of the taper season that I know many of us are in the midst of, are entering, will enter, or perhaps you will never taper but you have something else to which you can apply these sage words of wisdom, I wanted to repost my advice from earlier in the summer. Many of you will remember of it, but with so many new faces (hi, y’all!), I thought it worth sharing again. And Mama Salt, getcho self back here. We (I) miss you.

(Repost from my post here to end)

Speaking of the importance of comments…. I wanted to share with you all a few bits of advice that I left on #mamasalt’s blog on Thursday. Our dear Salt is running her first marathon on Sunday (edited to add–and she was incredible!); we all know that she, like any one else nights before their big race, is living rife with anticipation, phantom pains, and starting to build that adrenaline.

Pre Marathon Nerves (no joke--morning of MCM)

Pre Marathon Nerves (no joke–morning of MCM)

The last few days before one’s first marathon/half marathon/5k/goal race are, in my mine, among the top tests of the entirety of one’s training: how you handle the thoughts racing through your mind will play a huge role in how your legs race over the ground on race day. In those last few days, you question everything about your past, your present, your future: did you do enough training (past), are your resting/hydrating/fueling/stretching enough or too much (present), and what if it rains? What if you drink/eat too much beforehand? What if your stomach goes? What if your IT band/plantar fasciitis/calf acts up? (future).

calm down

Oh, my friends, I know all to well what you are dealing with. If you recall from my MCM recap, I mentioned that I had a hell of a time in the month and a half leading up to my marathon, after an otherwise picture perfect training. I didn’t know if I would make it to mile 10, much less 26.2. That morning, I felt physically ill with nerves. But then I ran. And it was an experience that changed my life.

I am not guaranteeing that everyone’s marathon/race will go perfectly. Believe me, I saw people in tears, people being attended by medics. I saw disappointment. But I also saw (and I personally felt) elation. The risk is worth the potential reward.


In the comments of Mama Salt’s post, she asked for any last advice.

Here is what I (Suz) had to say:

I’m so proud of you. I know people say things like this all the time, but the marathon itself is just a victory lap. The training is the hardest part–you have to go after it, week after week, deal with injuries, put in the time, the training, the $$. All for several hours on one particular day when you might get a side stitch and ruin everything. So, no matter what happens, be so freaking proud of yourself. Now and in a few days. All that will change is that you get a medal and some pictures. But you are already a marathoner.
10 pieces of advice:

  3. Go with your gut–literally. Eat/drink etc what you know works.
  4. Ask questions. Everyone knows what it is like before your first marathon. But unlike the other type of virginity, people are willing to talk openly about marathoning in front of children.
  5. Run without music for as long as possible and soak it all up.
  6. Start off slower than you think you need to. This first marathon is about finishing. And with style
  7. Body Glide. EVERYWHERE. Feet, bra straps, underwear, compression sock tops. Where the tongue of your shoe is (trust me). And Sunscreen and bug spray. And take bandaids and kleenex with you.
  8. Hydrate like crazy the day before, have a big water the morning of, then lay off.
  9. Don’t freak out if things go wrong. It’s not a crisis. It is a problem. You’re a mom. SOLVE IT.

Finish with a #mamasalt bath 😀 Love you and don’t worry, you got this.

I share this with all of you. And if you are not a mom, well then substitute “you’re a big girl.”

couch cat

Good luck to all of my past/present/future friends racing this weekend or in the weeks to come. Take this advice to heart and know that you are a champion. You don’t need a medal to prove it, though it is nice. You have done more than many could ever fathom.

Any other pieces of advice to add to help people get through those last few days?

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Have you read these gems?


  • Reply jill conyers

    Mama Salt pretty much covered it so no tips to add. You’re going to rock the 26.2 my friend!
    jill conyers recently posted…Recipe Redux: Cranberry Orange MuffinsMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 5:24 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think that I need to be Mama Suz because she has learned all she knows from me! I was happy to be able to help her. And to tell her about Body Glide.

      September 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Courtney @RunningforCupcakes

    I miss mama salt too!! I remember this post but thank you for reposting because today is the first day of taper for me! Very jealous you had froyo this weekend. I’ve been craving it like crazy but haven’t gotten it yet!
    Courtney @RunningforCupcakes recently posted…MIMM: New things!My Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 5:41 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It had been too long. It was so necessary.

      September 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete

    I needed (NEEDED!) this, friend! It’s only the first stupid day of taper, and I’m like :\. I have read her tips before, and started doing the *Body Glide everywhere* rule, especially on my happy feet!

    You’re going to be so great, missy…just wait! (Easier said than done.)
    Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete recently posted…Marathon Training: Week XV [A 5K PR and Bring On the Taper]My Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 6:04 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Haha, I like the fact that she has become the body glide preacher from me. She wasn’t a believe until I told her.
      I’m happy about taper–means we are getting close!

      September 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    I like the egg recipe and I could change it to a veggie sausage or just make it for my kids. i see another meatless Monday coming. I am sure you are getting antsy with the taper-my advice is go shopping! A little retail therapy always helps 🙂
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Zucchini Broccoli Casserole-Meatless MondayMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 6:21 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Yeah you do! Go for it. And you are so dangerous–my bank account is giving you the evil eye right now haha

      September 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply Michele

    Tapering is time when I feel like everything’s falling apart, every time! The more pressure I put on time for the race the harder the taper is for me because I allow all the self doubt to creep in. One of my first blog posts was about taper madness! I am actually nervous for you (though I don’t need to be!) but I totally empathize with that tapering feeling. So close! Very excited!
    Michele recently posted…Why Do We Keep Making Excuses and/or Apologizing for Being “Slow?”My Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 6:46 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It’s funny–I felt like I was falling apart for the last 1.5 months of my taper last time, this time I”m not doing so bad, and I haven’t really wrapped my head around the fact that I am running a marathon in less than 2 weeks. I’m pretty pumped, I have to say.

      September 22, 2014 at 1:18 pm
  • Reply Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie

    I love all of Mama Salt’s tips! Especially #6! I purposely took my first marathon very easy. I wanted to make sure I was able to finish strong first and foremost. Plus, I wasn’t super sweaty that way, so my post-race pictures are kinda cute : )
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…Weekend Recap: Sleepovers and SUPMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 7:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahaha it was Salt who was freaking out. I did save her from some terrible chafing by tell her the body glide trick.
      And looking cute is always necessary.

      September 22, 2014 at 1:16 pm
  • Reply cait @pieceofcait

    Love all the tips!!! It’s always great to have a reminder <3 and salt baths are always a good idea!
    cait @pieceofcait recently posted…Barre3 in the park, happy almost 4 & one NOT so marvelous.My Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 8:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think that even if you aren’t tapering, these are good things to keep in mind for life. After all, life is a marathon!

      September 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Ha, we were both thinking the same thing in the last 24 hours with our blogs! Sound advice and I like #10. Can I send my athletes your number?! Just kidding. You should see my phone log, e-mails, and text chains. Things are getting nuts over here with taper freak out, people who “forgot” to run their 20 miler, and then those who didn’t listen to my advice and suddenly decided to try out Hoka One Ones for their 20 miler and are suddenly in pain. Keep calm and taper on 🙂
    Sarah recently posted…Taper LandMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 8:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      We should have like a burner phone for the I”M SO SCARED communications. But if need be, send them on over haha. But OH GOOD GOD WHY do people try new shoes for a 20 miler? I’m running in shoes that will likely be about 100 miles over by the time I race, but I’d rather them (and deal with a little soreness after from lack of shock absorption) than deal with tendonitis from different shoes.
      And great minds think alike!

      September 22, 2014 at 1:14 pm
  • Reply Lacey@fairytalesandfitness

    Enjoy your taper. I probably will have that same look in a few weeks when I do MCM. Great advice!
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…A friend with a Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe!My Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 8:50 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks! I hope that it helps some! You’ll be starting your taper around the same time that I run, so in case I forget, enjoy yours as well!

      September 22, 2014 at 1:12 pm
  • Reply Ursula

    I totally agree, the race is the victory lap although that’s really hard to remember when you’ve put so many hours and sweaty tears into prepping for a race. I am bad at handling race nerves but usually I focus on other things, like go to a movie, shop, make crafts, do yoga, really anything that helps get my mind off things. I don’t think about the race too much because I get all anxious. Good luck with tapering my dear, I’m sure you have it in the BAG!!!
    Ursula recently posted…DIY: Spotted Bleach ScarfMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 9:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I am at such a different place this year than last year, that I think I am ready for this. I am now at the point that I am just ready to run it!

      September 22, 2014 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply Susie's mommy, Clare

    If it’s possible for you, have a support person who can “worry” for you and cheer you on…….
    hold you if you don’t finish as you’d planned, hold your hair while your insides “recycle” and keep your stresses to a minimum.
    Moms often do it by instinct but everyone needs a support person of his or her own. We support people support each other and we cheer for each other’s runners.
    We are there to proud of you—whatever you do because we know how hard you’ve worked to cross that starting line!

    September 22, 2014 at 9:14 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I am so happy that you will be there (as ever) at the finish. That takes so much off my mind.

      I am sorry in advance for things I may say in a bitchy way out of nerves. You have been warned.
      LOVE YOU

      September 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm
  • Reply Caitlin

    Enjoy the taper as much as you can….you worked your butt off for how many weeks to get to this point. You’ve more than earned the rest, and you’ll need it come race day 😛 That’s my goal at the moment haha….hold out for the taper and then live it up 😉 My almost week off set me up for a nice run this morning thankfully, and I’m looking forward to finishing this training cycle strongly….but I also have a feeling I’m going to be weird and enjoy the taper in a few weeks much more than I usually do 😛
    Caitlin recently posted…Erie 2014My Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 9:27 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Like we discussed, I think you really needed a restart week to get back to baseline. Plus, you likely had so much adrenaline going on after Erie, that you prob had a bit of a crash. And as long as you look at that taper as another cycle of your training, you will do great. You are Caitlin, you don’t really do anything half heartedly, and that is why I love you. PS we need a phone catch up. I miss you.

      September 22, 2014 at 1:09 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    I have never had to taper but I sure do know who to call if I ever get to that point in my running journey! You are an amazingly supportive and knowledgable person and clearly a kick ass friend! Mama Salt will rock her marathon and no doubt you will too!
    Annmarie recently posted…Meatless Monday: Caramelized Onion, Apple, & Arugula PizzaMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 9:31 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Yeah, Ghostbuster’s will do you no good (you better call me harhar). And you are too freaking nice to me.

      September 22, 2014 at 1:20 pm
  • Reply Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles

    I am SO FREAKING EXCITED for you. You have trained hard, you have trained smart and you are going to be GREAT (you always are my friend!!) Enjoy this taper period, eat well and relax!!! xo
    Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles recently posted…Weekly Wrap UpMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 10:23 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      AWWwwww thank you. I think that I have, but regardless, I have done what I think is best. And you know what? It is too late now to change the past, forward motion only. One step at a time 😀

      September 22, 2014 at 1:06 pm
  • Reply Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    I totally needed to see this post! I am pinning this for when I start tapering and freaking out. ha ha.

    Good luck, you will rock it!
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Reaching your goalsMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 11:13 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Just remember–BODY GLIDE! And, if need be, call me 😀

      September 22, 2014 at 1:03 pm
  • Reply Sara @ Lake Shore Runner

    I loved our conversation yesterday about tapering. It shows that everyone goes about it a little different, but the most important thing is that it is done.

    You basically hit all of the tapering points. Two things I would add: Have yous positive mantras ready. I know right before a race I will say all of these “buts” to my parents….but what if I don’t finish? but what if my time sucks? But what if I can’t do it? And they always remind me that I am running a marathon which is far greater than most can say they have done. And regardless of the outcome they are going to love me just the same if not more when I am done 🙂

    Also, I got into this ritual before my first marathon when I had all the IT problems. Two nights before the race I do a full on ice bath for my legs. Morning before the marathon full on ice bath. Night before the marathon full on ice bath. I usually stay in for about 15 minutes and I really attribute this to my legs feeling great on race day even with all my IT problems!

    So excited for you – less than 2 weeks!
    Sara @ Lake Shore Runner recently posted…Weekend Recap: No CoffeeMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 11:21 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That is one of the things that I adore about this community–the universality, but also individuality, of experiences.
      Now, as for the ice baths… can I pay someone else to take them 😉

      September 22, 2014 at 1:04 pm
      • Reply Sara @ Lake Shore Runner

        Take it from a girl who doesn’t like the cold either – you just gotta distract yourself. Instagram, blog reading, catching up with your parents (yes in the tub – wear a bathing suit bottom obvi), facetime. You become numb to it all after awhile.
        Sara @ Lake Shore Runner recently posted…Weekend Recap: No CoffeeMy Profile

        September 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm
  • Reply GiGi Eats

    While I don’t run races, I used to competitively snowboard. I always freaked out and stressed so much prior… If only I knew how to CALM THE F DOWN when I was younger. If I were still competing I probably would have done FAR BETTER NOW all because my mind set has changed so much!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Recipe Redux: Get Chip-Faced with ChipkinsMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 11:54 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know. That is such an interesting thought. I wonder how I would do with riding now? Probably not all that much different, though I might beat myself up a little less when results were less than perfect.

      September 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm
  • Reply Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    I am excited for you. You are going to do great!
    I so feel like that cat at the moment .
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on What Fitness Means To Me (Win a £100/$150 Nike Voucher) by DanniiMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 11:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you! Me too haha.

      September 22, 2014 at 12:49 pm
  • Reply Tina Muir

    Right on the marker my friend, trust your training! That is the number 1 (and 2 apparently) rule of all. I will need you to remind this to me in a few weeks when I am losing my mind! Chicago is 20 days away! Eeekk! That means you will go through all this, and be so wise by the time my race rolls around, hey, you may even be able to walk without your calves hurting by the time I arrive in Chi town 😛
    Tina Muir recently posted…Meatless Monday: Pumpkin Pie PancakesMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Dude, i will walk around WITH my calves hurting while you are here. How else will we see and eat everything in sight?

      September 23, 2014 at 9:35 am
  • Reply Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    You are going to rock it! I can’t believe I will be running MCM again in 5 weeks! ONly 2 more long runs til taper time! Yahoo! And I miss Salt too, I need to call her! Can’t wait to hear about the marathon! Trust the training and pick up that hobby that you keep putting off, that’s what I do. Or not even a hobby. Conquer that to-do list! You can do it!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…MCM Training week 12 recapMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Good point. I will blame you when I have to explain to Alex why I have bought of these new things for my “hobby” 😉

      September 23, 2014 at 9:36 am
  • Reply Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants

    Awesome advice! I especially love the part about being a champion and not needing a medal to prove it! TRUTH 🙂
    Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants recently posted…TYT – Pumpkin Pie FroYoMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 4:52 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It’s amazing how simple that truth is but how hard it can be for us to accept. But really, this is a victory lap with a shiny carrot at the end!

      September 23, 2014 at 9:37 am
  • Reply Mo (@rushourunner)

    I know that I’m a champion (I have a shirt that says so), but I think I’ve earned a medal for running 16 miles yesterday with bloody knees. So that needs to happen. Also, thanks for the company yesterday!!!
    Mo (@rushourunner) recently posted…things i’ve learned this training cycle (so far)My Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 5:23 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I definitely think you deserve a medal for yesterday. After the flu and those knees??!! And, at the very least, a smoked turkey and beer. No, not a smoked turkey sandwich the WHOLE THING.
      And thank YOU for the company!

      September 23, 2014 at 9:39 am
  • Reply Lauren @ ihadabiglunch

    I don’t know why but I never thought that it would be stressful in the weeks/days leading up to a marathon. But holy damn you’re running 26.2 MILES! After watching the CARA runners do 20 this past weekend I now understand just how much dedication, time, money and determination it takes, and I can’t imagine how mad I’d be if it was all ruined because you accidentally put the wrong form of fuel in your body, you couldn’t fall asleep the night before, etc. etc.
    Lauren @ ihadabiglunch recently posted…CARA 20 miler, Taco Fest, and AccountabilityMy Profile

    September 22, 2014 at 6:52 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think the stress of the taper comes from the fact that you are getting closer and closer to your goal, and as you do, you have more and more time to stress about it. And then, because you body isn’t used to having so much free time, as it were, it feels like things are constantly going wrong!

      September 23, 2014 at 9:40 am
  • Reply Rae

    SO behind on my blogs! Anyway, I love you, you’re gonna be great! And yes, we all miss Mama Salt!
    Rae recently posted…Manic Monday – 09/22/14My Profile

    September 23, 2014 at 2:42 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Don’t you worry, lady. I love you, too, and thank you!

      September 24, 2014 at 10:42 am

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