Taper Tantrums

Taper Tantrums

Originally posted April 1st, 2016 while training for the Boston Marathon. Updated September 24, 2021.

Def: Emotional roller-coaster, feeling bloated, fat, slow and lazy. An endless urge to eat everything in sight, and to seek out food not in sight. The constant feeling like you should be doing something else right now, like running or stretching or checking on the weather three weeks away.

This Saturday we had our longest run of the season: 21.5 miles, or twenty-something depending on how many times you stopped your watch or forgot to re-start your watch.

Taper time hasn’t even really begun.

Boston Marathon, taper tantrumsI ran 5.91 miles Tuesday night and cranked out negative splits on the last three miles. It just felt so good. I pushed up the hills and cruised down the hills.

Thursday the taper tantrums really set in. Something set me off in the morning and I was just kind of pissed off all day. I thought I was just pissed. It’s way too early for the taper tantrums.

As the day wore on and on, it dawned on me what was going on. I was in full blown taper mode and I had barely recovered from my long run. What is going on here?

Running with cinder blocks

Now that I’m in the early stages of mid-life, I’ve come to understand mood swings. We all have them; runners have them in spades. When I was younger I surfed the waves of emotion with little control or awareness. If I was running high, whoa! I went with it. If I was in the valley, knife was in hand. Don’t cross me. Metaphorically, of course!

Being older and wiser I can feel the engines ignite. I know what to expect and where this rocket ship is going and that no one else really cares. It’s my freakin ride, step off.

I can also feel the cold dark ugliness of the valley. Nothing is good and everything is bad. If you cross me I’m liable to cut you down in a sentence. You won’t deserve it but I can’t help it.

In full blown taper tantrum, a runner’s mood swings can be sudden, extreme and long.

I think I dove right into my taper tantrums this time because I’m running with cinder blocks. I freely chose these weights and the responsibilities are all mine.

I chose to run a marathon under-prepared and take on a fundraising commitment. I chose to start a business and try to figure everything out. I chose a demanding job. I chose all of this and take full responsibility.

I’m feeling under prepared for a marathon that so many people only get to run once. I worry I’m not showing the respect due a renowned race such as this. The Boston Marathon is not a race to be taken lightly. It is more than a race.

But each commitment and exhausting activity weighs on me. I don’t have time to be bored. Barely have time for lunch or a relaxing drink.

Running with cinder blocks amplifies and intensifies my moods and reactions. I don’t have time for bull shit.

Runners tend to be very focused. We need to get in our training and try to eat right and avoid injury. We are like a guided missile locked onto our targets. Don’t get in our way.

While people around us are tossing idle banter we are calculating the total distance we ran for the week, so far. How to get in a 7 mile run at lunch between meetings and calls. How to avoid a box of Girl Scout cookies in the kitchen. How can I get my work done and get to what matters, running, when everyone keeps bugging the shit out of me?

I love you all and everything you have done for me. But expect me to be in the valley with my cinder blocks a lot these next few weeks.

Run well and please excuse me.


Taper Time 2016

I’m in my first full week of taper time, and I’m felling a little better.

Last week I had a lot of stuff on my mind. I’m behind on my training and my fundraising, and time is running out! I knew these would be issues going into this, but it became very corpreal last week

Have you ever had that dream where you sit down for a college exam and you never even bought the book or went to a single class? I’m feeling a little bit of that.

On top of that, my wife is going to Spain for a school trip the week of the marathon. With everything that’s going on these days, that’s yet another worry. Another cinder block.

Taper Time Training

Sunday long run
click to enlarge

The Sunday Long Run dropped from 21.5 to 14.8 miles this week. A huge drop in miles but we had to deal with wet blowing snow. The sides of the road were covered in slush and cars couldn’t help but spray us as they drove by.

Knowing that I had a much shorter distance to run, I pushed a little harder on the hills. It was tough on the legs but I’m down to the wire and need all the hill work I can get.

When I got to the end of the run I was close to 15 miles, so I ran around the parking lot a few times to get to a nice whole number.

On Tuesday I did 4 miles on the treadmill at work, and it was hard. I wanted to do 5, but the legs said no. Thursday I managed to run 5 miles on the treadmill at marathon pace and it was comfortable.

My weekly total miles dropped to 24 even, down from 30 the previous week. A big 20% drop.

Next week the Sunday Long Run drops to 12.5 miles, but we run the Fellsway hills in both directions! We hit the hill on Highland Ave on the way out and the hill on East Border Road on the way back, then hit the Fellsway Hills one last time.

snowy long run, taper time

So while the run will be shorter, it will be more challenging on the legs. As such, I’ll probably drop down to a 5K on Tuesday night and a 5 mile treadmill run on Thursday. That will bring my weekly miles down to 20.6. If I drop my Thursday run to 4 miles it will be okay.

Right now I’m trying to stay healthy and not do anything stupid. That means lot’s of hand washing and wearing slippers around the house. If anything happens at this point, I don’t have time to take off from training to recover.

My shoulder feels better and a little core work would probably be helpful right now. But, I cannot risk straining my shoulder doing a plank or down-ward dog. My right hand has stopped tingling and feeling numb, so I’m gonna call it good.

Boston Marathon Expo

The Boston Marathon Expo opens at 10AM on Friday. I know it will be a zoo, but I’ll ask my manager if I can leave a little early and go pick up my number. I just love being in that crowd. It is totally energizing and I don’t really mind the crowd at all. It’s my tribe.

Hyland’s Leg Cramps will be there. Their product actually helps with leg cramps, it doesn’t cause them! They shot a short video with me last year. I was a little nervous, but it was fun and they actually posted it on their web site.

Brooks Running, my go to shoe, will be there also. Quite often the vendors will have special expo discounts and the nutritional companies are always handing out samples.

Quite a few big marathons will be there also, and they usually offer some good discounts as well. If I make it through this race relatively unscathed, I’ll be looking to sign up for a destination marathon.

If you are looking for the best way to display your Boston Marathon medal, check out Omni Running’s Boston Marathon Display frames. We will ship anywhere in the continental US for $9.00 and you will get to display your medal in your frame, not a duplicate.

Our prices can’t be beat!

Check out my Pinterest page for a few more examples of our Boston Marathon frames.

BAA Volunteer

On Sunday I will be at the Boston Marathon Expo, in the hallowed hall distributing runner’s packets and bibs! This is my first year volunteering at the BAA Expo and I think I have the best assignment. What could be more exciting than giving a runner their number?

I did pull the last shift on Sunday afternoon. So that means I will be on my feet from about Noon until 6PM on Sunday. I volunteered before I knew I had a number and did not know what my assignment would be.

This will be a new Boston Marathon experience for me. For a guy who has run Boston six times already, a new and exciting experience for race number seven is going to be awesome!

I hope to see you there!

Run well my Friends!


© 2016 andrew nagelin

Taper time for Bay of Fundy

It’s Taper Time again! Oh, Yeah!

Like I’ve been training so hard that I need a taper! I just calculated my numbers since The Boston Marathon and it looks like I’m still in recovery mode. Since April 21st, I’ve run 98.39 miles. That’s 98.39 miles in 7 weeks! Sounds like a radio station, “Pudge 98.39, the Hurt Locker”

Boston, memorial day
In the Corral

Included in these numbers is the Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon and that race felt really good. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that a marathon is not two halfs. It’s like 3 halfs, the 3rd one begins at mile 20. I started the Run to Remember slow which probably contributed to my feeling so good the last 10 miles of the race.

I trained fairly seriously for The Boston Marathon and ran a 4:04, so I have that base to work with. I’m hoping that my pathetic running since Boston has been enough to keep my fitness level up. With one week to go, hope is my strategy! I ran a 9 mile Sunday Long Run this weekend and it felt okay. Not great.

When I got home I worked in the garden and then spent six hours scraping and painting our walkway railing. Not the best therapy for the knees and back. But it had to be done.

I’m sure the Bay of Fundy Marathon will be beautiful and a great experience. Hopefully I’m in good enough shape to come in at a respectable time.

Maine, New Brunswick, Lubec

Run well my friends!


© anagelin 2014

Living on Taper Time

It’s Taper Time for Boston Marathon runners!

It’s time to reduce your miles and be careful. It’s more important to arrive in Hopkinton un-injured and rested than it is to make up a long run that you missed last month. You are as fit as you are going to get for this race. It is time to wind things down and enjoy some free time.

boston marathonI’ve updated my 2013 post, “Boston Marathon Runners Rules” to reflect the new BAA rules. The post has been getting a lot of hits these past few weeks, so I wanted to add updated information. Here is my April 1st post, “2014 Boston Marathon Essentials” which boils down the policies to what is most essential for you to know. It’s also a good idea to check out www.baa.org.

See you in Boston!

Run well my friends!


© anagelin 2014

10 Days and Counting!

I took this screen shot from the BAA’s site on April 10th.

BAA, marathon, boston marathon


Is anyone else getting nervous? I’ve run Boston five times and eleven marathons all together, and I still get nervous thinking about Marathon Monday.

With 10 days to go, there isn’t much left to do. I have one more long run this Sunday and then I’m in taper mode. I’ve been washing my hands so often to avoid getting sick that my hands are dried out. Between washing and doing a brake job on my car, my hands are a mess.

My advice to new runners

Don’t try to make up miles now. The taper is coming; go with it. Nothing you do now will enhance your finish time. Now is the time to be careful and don’t do anything stupid. Drink some beers, watch some TV. Do not buy new shoes or do a new workout routine. You are in a new state of mind. When you look back on this you will understand how altered you were in the days before The Marathon. Just try to enjoy it and don’t do anything stupid. Okay?

Now, be honest. How many times have you packed? Have you started looking at the long-range weather forecast? If this is your first marathon or first Boston don’t feel like you are crazy. This is a big deal and you have every right to be pre-occupied for the next 10 days.

My advice to new runners

Pack and pack and repack. It may help with the nerves. It is amazing the things you forget when you go to a race. Get as much of your stuff together this weekend as possible. If you are travelling, double-check everything two days before you zip your suite case closed. The Expo has everything and anything you would need for a race. But make sure the shoes and clothes you will wear on Marathon Monday are in your bag. You don’t need to break in a Cliff bar, but new shoes could ruin your race.

I feel like I am laser focused right now. I’m being careful. Last Tuesday night was the last time I will run in the dark until after the marathon. I’m locked on target. I know what I need to do. Training is essentially over. My primary focus for the next 10 days is staying healthy.

On the Glide Path

I feel like I have a permanent runners high: A serenity. I’ve done this before. I know what I need to do. Everything outside of The Marathon is a peripheral issue. It’s not that I don’t care about anything else. It’s just that I don’t care about anything else. I have a goal. 1 goal.

I often compare marathons to the Normandy Invasion. They take a lot of planning and work and they are not easy. It’s a big freakin deal. If you are a first time marathoner or Boston Marathon runner, lock and load my friend. You are in for the event of your life. Soak it in. Savor every moment. Boston can change your life.

Don’t do anything stupid for the next 10 days. Okay?

Runners get like this sometimes. Obsessed. No one wants to talk to us because all we want to talk about is The Race. It’s not just running that we bore our co-workers with. It’s down to a single event. God bless them.

Run well my friends! See you in Boston!


© anagelin 2014

BAA Half Marathon Taper Time

BAA Half Marathon Taper Time

Four days to go until the BAA Half Marathon. I’m starting to get excited and my mind is more and more pre-occupied with the race. At this point I’m in taper mode and have been thinking about the clothes I might need. I need to be prepared for whatever weather we get on race day. I’m also taking an inventory of my GUs and other race food to make sure I have what I need.

Taper Time and Recovery Time

With only four days to go, I’m in maintenance mode. At this point any additional training is not going to increase my speed or endurance. If I sustain an injury this close to the race there won’t be any time for a recovery.

It is time to be careful and try to take care of myself. I ran 9.29 miles on Sunday and 5.69 miles Tuesday night. I’ll probably do 5k Friday afternoon and that’s about it. Enough to maintain my fitness level and keep my legs loose.

My hamstring injury is pretty much behind me. It still hurts some times and I still get leg pain if I sit in my car for more than 45 minutes. But, the pain is not as bad as it used to be and takes much longer to hit me. My left calf muscle has been bothering me for the past week or so. As they say, there is always a pain, it just moves around.

Training and Therapy

In my last two races, a 10K and a 5K, I’ve set new PRs. I haven’t been putting in a lot of extra miles. I peaked at about 32 miles one week but have stayed in the 20-25 miles per week range for the past few months. I give a lot of the credit for my recent success to my physical therapy.

In addition to all kinds of stretching exercises my therapist has given me some good strengthening exercises. I’m working on muscles that I’ve never really paid much attention to, the glutes and all of the hip muscles. I didn’t really think these exercises would do more than help me recover, but I have no other explanation for my recent successes.

Strengthening these muscles has to be what is making the difference in my performance.
Most of the hamstring and piriformis work I have done has been stretching and not strengthening. The focus there has been to work out my scar tissue and get those muscles flexible again. I’m excited to see such amazing results from this effort. I never paid much attention to stretching before. I’m beginning to see the light though.

The Nugget of Wisdom

As I’ve mentioned many times before, if you do not stretch on a regular basis do not start a massive routine on race day while you are sitting around waiting for the start. Do not do anything new on race day. Nothing. It will mess you up. If you never stretch or only do some light stretches, doing 20 minutes of hard-core stretching is going to tear your muscles at the absolute worse time for this, minutes before a race. Don’t do it.

I encourage you to start a stretching routine and work it into your cross training or cool off routine. If you do it right and push yourself you will be amazed at the results. Just don’t start on race day, okay?

The BAA Half Marathon should be exciting. I’ve never run it before, but I know how well the BAA manages a race.

Run well my friends,


© anagelin 2012