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Tapering Before Paris - Geek Turned Athlete

Tapering Before Paris


I went on my last run today before I run the Paris Marathon on Sunday. This week, I have basically been going crazy with pent up energy. Tapering before a race kills me! I do it though because I know that it will help me run the race that I want. @262ismycooldown mentioned on twitter on Tuesday that this was usually the week where self-doubt comes into play for him. I was convinced that I was fine until yesterday.

I was second guessing my training. I was second guessing myself. I was second guessing my ability to run at all.

For today on my last run before Paris (a 3 miler), all this second guessing was torturing me. I tried to fight it off with:

  • You have done all you can do at this point.
  • You are wasting energy worrying about something that you can’t change at this point.
  • I am as prepared as I will ever be for this race.

I am fully aware that my time at this marathon may not be what I planned it to be at the beginning of my training because of things that happened to be out of my control: pneumonia and a retwisted ankle. I was consistent most of the time with my workouts when my health permitted which I know is important. I just need to listen to my own advice above, and not worry about it. What is done, is done as far as my training is concerned. For better or for worse, I am committed to this race, and I WILL complete it. I know that I can run 20 miles, and really once you’ve run 20 miles, what’s another 6.2? Haha, Watch, now that I say that, I will hit my wall at 21!

I will be repeating this for some of the race: “I trust you, my legs. You’ve been good to me so far in my life. I know you can get me through this race.”


I am also struggling with if I want to run my first marathon for time or just enjoy it. It will be in Paris after all. I know that if I’m concentrating on my pace, the Eiffel Tower will go by unnoticed.

My sis and mom get into town tomorrow. I must get back to cleaning before my mom shows up with her white gloves! haha

What would you do in my situation? Run for time or run for fun? Any good running mantras for me to remember?

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Erica April 8, 2010, 2:04 pm

    You can do it! I think you should run for fun with a general goal window time in mind. I always find that when I run this way, I do my best. If I’m so stuck on time, I make myself crazy. Can’t wait to read your recap. Have fun with your sister and mom

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) April 8, 2010, 2:29 pm

    Girl, I think just the fact that you’re doing this at all is awesome. I am sooooo competitive so my nature would be to run to compete. However, I do honestly believe that you should run for the fun of it. If that fun happens to take you faster, then that’s even better. Good luck and I can’t wait to hear about it (and see some pics too).

  • Liz April 8, 2010, 2:35 pm

    I’ve run two marathons and it helps me to think of all those people who are sick or who have ailments that prevent them from running marathons – they would most likely give all they had to be able to run one, so I owe it to them to finish the race and finish strong and in good spirits. Also, you can think of one thing you are thankful for every mile – it helps pass the time. Good luck!

  • Marisa April 8, 2010, 3:13 pm

    I’m no marathon runner but I believe someone once told me to run for the fun of it…ummm that person was you! Being the cardio queen that you are, you’re going to want to PR in this race…but you have plenty of races in the future to PR in 😉 And you’re absolutely right if you can run 20 miles, what’s 6.2 more (coming from the person who hasn’t ran that distance ever)? At that point there’s no turning back. Good luck – I KNOW you’ll do great – btw where did you get such a nice tan in Germany?

    • Nicole April 8, 2010, 4:26 pm

      I was in the states for a month! hehe

  • Caitlin April 8, 2010, 3:21 pm

    I am a pretty big fan of the “run for fun” school of thought when it comes to big races. Unless you’ve got several under your belt, sometimes I think it’s best to just enjoy it (haha, I know..not so funny around mile 21) and take it for all it’s worth! I am really proud of you and know that you will be rockin’ it this weekend – what an awesome city to run in!

    I have a few mantras but when I hit my wall I do a lot of praying. It really helps me to just send a few shout outs up to the Big Guy 🙂 I have heard that people dedicate each mile to someone and that can help, too.

    Running is a big mind game. I just keep telling my head that my feet can do it and to just shut up already!

    Best of luck and much love from the States 🙂

  • Alanna April 8, 2010, 3:22 pm

    We have a similar mantra, I usually repeat ‘my legs will take me wherever I need to go’. It’s a tough decision being in Paris and all, maybe you just need to wait and see what you feel like doing once you get there? 🙂 Have a great time!

  • Allison (Eat Clean Live Green) April 8, 2010, 4:32 pm

    I’d try to run for fun, especially since it’s in Paris. Or maybe sort of for fun, sort of for time. 🙂

    I know you’re going to do awesome!

  • Amanda April 8, 2010, 4:51 pm

    A couple of thoughts on this… 1) are running for time and running for fun mutually exclusive? can’t you do both? and 2) trust your legs. and your endurance. it’s there. last year, i got really sick and long story short, my longest run before IMLouisville was 90 mins. I still did the marathon in 3:55 (after riding 112 miles and swimming 2.4).
    You’ll be fine! Good luck. Have fun AND run fast.
    Look forward to hearing about it!

    • Nicole April 8, 2010, 4:58 pm

      Hmm. That is definitely something to think about. I feel like I don’t take in the scenery as much when I am running for time though.

      You are a badass for running with that time in your Ironman! You give me hope for my half Ironman in September!

  • Mike April 8, 2010, 5:31 pm

    Drop me an email and I will share a document with you a friend of mine wrote about the taper…it will help you get that confidence back. You CAN do this and you WILL do it. Run for time — accomplish you goals. You have put in the hard work and now it is time to enjoy the fruits of all those early a.m. runs in the snow…

  • Stacey April 8, 2010, 5:31 pm

    My favorite mantra, “When your legs are tired, run with your heart…”

    Everyone told me that for the first marathon, the goal was to finish. I did that and was proud of my time but also knew I could beat it, hence marathon #2 and #3 (so far)!

    Best of luck. You have put the training in and now is the time to trust that.

  • Laura Georgina April 8, 2010, 5:57 pm

    You are SO lucky to be able to run your first marathon in such an amazing place!! I’d definitely run it for fun (which always makes me faster anyway)–but definitely stop and take pictures and soak it all in. There will be plenty of other races in less stunning locations, but Paris in the springtime HAS to enjoyed.

    Good luck! You are definitely ready and you’re gonna rock it.

  • Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather April 8, 2010, 6:07 pm

    I think since it’s your first marathon run it for fun! You never get to have a first again so make it fun and a good memory.

  • Di April 8, 2010, 6:42 pm

    Run for fun, always! If it’s not for fun then why do it? Enjoy the scenery, enjoy the run, enjoy the day!

  • Jacquie April 8, 2010, 7:48 pm

    Girl, you can do anything! I know you can! Since I don’t really run (at all), I’d run for fun, just to put the pressure off of yourself. No matter what your time is, it’s going to be such an accomplishment to say that you ran a marathon. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but if you don’t enjoy Paris, I’ll fly over there myself and kick your butt 😉

  • Anne April 8, 2010, 7:59 pm

    You can definitely do it!!! Good luck, I’ll keep my thumbs crossed for you 🙂

  • Abby April 8, 2010, 9:57 pm

    You’re going to do wonderfully!!!!

    I know I’m all worried, but I haven’t been doing my best. I’m just so scared of screwing up my foot permanently! Oh well! 🙂

  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness April 8, 2010, 11:17 pm

    Your legs look so strong and fit… a sure sign that you have trained enough and will be able to get through the marathon. Don’t doubt yourself. If we visualize ourselves doing things, we are closer to accomplishing them. Don’t visualize (or think about) yourself FAILING. Think about yourself kicking butt at this marathon, and you’ll do just that!!!!

  • Julie @SavvyEats April 9, 2010, 4:35 am

    My vote would be to enjoy it. How often are you going to get to run a marathon in PARIS?

  • Jacquelyn April 9, 2010, 10:47 am


    We met at the AFAA APEX last September, and I have been following your blog off and on since then, and I just wanted to say GOOD LUCK IN PARIS. The hubs and I will be there running with you (though at a much slower pace so I highly doubt that we are going to bump into each other). I have a few mantras for this upcoming race and they are : “Embrace the suck” (used for the last end of the race) and “Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional”. I know that you are going to do super, so enjoy it!!!!

  • Jason April 9, 2010, 6:58 pm

    I’d say go out steady for the first half at a conservative pace, try to fight the adrenaline rush the first few miles and settle into a comfortable groove. If you’re feeling good after the half way point, pick it up a little. If you still feel okay at 20, suffer and push yourself the last 10K.

    If your body is giving you feedback that it’s just not going to be a fast day, ease off the pace and look around at the scenery and have fun.

    I’ve made the mistake of going out too fast, trying to keep up the pace, not listening to my body and then blowing up and having a slow time when I should have just backed off and enjoyed myself. I didn’t have a fast or enjoyable race that day.

    As for mantras, I like one by Prefontaine:
    “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”

    Also one by Mark Twain:
    “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”

  • Tea April 10, 2010, 2:30 am

    OH! First marathon in Paris.
    No matter how fast the runner, I always advise to run the first for sheer fun.
    You only have one first. The memories of the race and not your time will be with you forever. Once you do that, you can go back and kill your previous time.

    So run however you feel that day, but don’t forget to have a wonderful time. 🙂

  • Gracie April 10, 2010, 9:40 pm

    I’m not a runner, so I don’t think it’d be a good idea to try to give you advice. BUT I will say that I’m rooting for you! Whatever you decide to do – run for time or run for fun – completing a marathon is a HUGE deal. Don’t forget that!!

  • Gelareh @ Nutritious Foodie April 12, 2010, 7:12 pm

    I am sure by now you have ran your marathon and have finished proud 🙂
    Can’t wait to read the recap of “Paris Marathon”… way to go on being so actively involved in europe 🙂

  • Tea April 13, 2010, 4:26 am

    How was it?!?!?! I’ve been dying to read all about it!

  • Tiffany April 14, 2010, 12:37 pm

    Tapering is a mental game, lady. We all tend to think that our bodies are not strong if we’re being lazy. While that’s true for the sedentary type, the fact remains that you’re not being lazy; you’re resting from months of training. You need this, your body needs this. Everyone goes stir-crazy during taper, so at least take to heart that you’re never alone in this type of training (mental).

    Mike is AWESOME! I love his tenacity! He’s like my Yoda. 😀

  • Jay April 14, 2010, 8:07 pm

    Where is the race report???? I have been patiently I have my first marathon at the end of next month and I have been enjoying reading about your training and experiences?


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