Balloch to Boston – The necessary evil that is tapering

I’m no doctor but this looks to me like it could be a nasty case. All the symptoms are beginning to show – lethargy, paranoia, the presence of ailments possibly real but probably imagined and the loss of the general ability to run properly. Yup, it’s definitely Taperitis.

I’ll be honest, I hate this bit of marathon training. The Taper – easing back on the training workload so your body is fully recovered for race day and trusting that you have done all the work you need to – is not something that comes naturally to me. It always feels like you are going against everything you have been trying to achieve and build over the previous few months.

I like working hard at my running. One of my favourite things about it is that satisfying tiredness you get after a long run or a tough speed session. But now, even though I know it’s absolutely the right thing to do, reducing the mileage brings an odd, unsettling sensation. Worse still, it also brings time to think (usually too much) about what lies ahead!

We surely can’t be at this stage already. It feels like no time at all since I first found out I had a place for the Boston Marathon and that I was beginning to let friends and family know about my big running adventure for 2016.

But, indeed, we are at this stage. Race day is a week on Monday and if I’m not ready now then, frankly, it’s too late. Given the loss of perspective that Taperitis – I’ve heard it called ‘Maranoia’ too – also brings, I was beginning to think it had been weeks since my last decent run. Training diaries serve a brilliant purpose, though, and there was the evidence in black and white – it was only last week that I was rounding off my last big long run and feeling like I was in just the right place with my training. So I AM ready!

I’ve got my ‘Runner’s Passport’ to present at the Boston Expo in order to collect my race number, while travel arrangements are being checked, double checked and checked again. I’ve also started the totally pointless exercise of monitoring the long-range weather forecast, though there does appear to have been some Scottish-looking weather there over the past couple of days, judging by the photo recently posted on the Boston Facebook page of the finish line…

boston snow

I have no problem whatsoever with it being cold on race day, though – my pale Scottishness doesn’t tend to cope too well with running in the heat – so let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

The next few days are going to be all about preparation – and making sure I savour every last crumb of what I’m sure is going to be an unforgettable experience. There is much to do, so I’ll have plenty to keep me occupied over the coming days as the nerves begin to creep up ever so slightly with each passing day.

The nerves, though, are good news. They’re a reminder that taking on Boston really means something to me. I’ve found another useful distraction, too – my race shoes have arrived…and they may actually be visible  from America! Don’t you just love it when they update the colour scheme of  your favourite shoe?


I’m hoping they’ll either blind the other runners all around me into giving me plenty of space to run on race day…or the fact that I’ll be wondering what on earth those vivid flashes are that keep screaming into my peripheral vision with every step will help take my mind off the approaching pain.

So it’s just about time to go and look out the suitcase – and not to think too much about running. I’m also going to keep in mind an excellent piece of advice, passed on recently to my ultra-marathon running friend Karen. It’s simple, effective and to the point. “Calm the f*** down.”

I think I may just have found my marathon mantra.

With thanks to Adidas UK and Garmin UK








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