Taper Madness: (Phantom) Pain

If you are a regular reader, you know I’m tapering for the NYC Marathon. You’re either incredibly sick of marathon posts, or you’re dying to see how I do. (Okay, fine. You’re probably just sick of marathon posts. Too bad. I’ll be writing about the NYC Marathon for at least the next week and a half.)

So, the other day, I wrote about how one of my taper madness symptoms was taking it easy. I was starting to get bored with cross-training, and did a spin and yoga class last weekend–and then I was really sore afterwards when my muscles needed to be rebuilding.

Well, I’ve been awesome at resting this week. My workout schedule this week looked like this:

Monday: rest (was going to run but brought two left shoes out to my parents’)

Tuesday: run 4 miles on the Alter-G + physical therapy + long walk home

Wednesday: unplanned rest day

Thursday: 3 mile treadmill run

Friday: physical therapy in AM, long walk home at night

Most of the time, I do push myself relatively hard to work out, so I am totally going with this “I need to rest to recover” thing. Especially because I am one achy lady right now. There’s the knee injury that I’ve been dealing with, and I’m having some lower back pain, which isn’t terribly unusual for me with running, unfortunately.

I have two hot dates tonight:


This guy.


And this guy.

But not at the same time. Who do you think I am??

I’m also starting to get some “phantom pains.” What the hell is a phantom pain, do you ask? Doesn’t it either hurt or…not? According to Runner’s World (which has never led me astray):

Twinges and passing aches are all part of the body’s rejuvenation process. “During a taper, tissue repair on the microscopic level causes muscle twitches and sometimes muscle cramps as the body adapts,” says Dr. Smurawa. Also, when we run less, and worry more about our marathon, everyday aches and pains-which would normally be ignored–get exaggerated to the point of lunacy.

This Dr. Smurawa character also suggests long baths, whirlpools and massages, and suggests thinking of each pain as a sign that your body is healing itself and preparing you for the marathon. And appears to know me very well. The slight ankle pain on the treadmill last night? The soreness in my quads? (Hopefully) all signs that my body is healing itself.

Marathoners (and half-marathoners): what part of the taper drives you the maddest?

Non-marathoners: what’s driving you mad right now???

9 comments on “Taper Madness: (Phantom) Pain

  1. Samantha

    Oh my god! I was dealing with that today…I thought my heel hurt, and then my ankle…I ran 6 on Tuesday, pilates Weds, 5 on Thurs, and yoga today, so I’m not sure why my legs are freaking out…oh yeah….

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Samantha: My brain right now is basically just OW.OW.OW.OW. I translated the ows into a post. What kind of runs do you have planned for next week?

  2. Carina

    In taper for the Chicago Marathon I had about two straight weeks of marathon nightmares, a phantom pain in my right shin and foot, plus the feeling of being fat and lazy.

    Can’t wait for my next marathon!

  3. Tracey

    I just hate taper time period. That last week before the race I wish I could just fast forward and get to race day immediately! I’m so ready to run at that point. But I know I have to give my body the rest it deserves (and needs) after all of my efforts!

  4. Meghan

    Running is my stress relief and integral so my sanity…take that away and my emotions are outttaaa control. It’s like I’m PMSing x58783542

  5. kristin miller

    Hey fellow NYC Marathoner! I got the WORST cold last week as I began to taper. I was sleeping 10-12 hours a night and pretty much became a non human for 4 straight days. The taper. It has many tricks up its sleeve! Good luck 11/6/11!


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