Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Taper and the Yips

Its funny how things can change so rapidly.  My final week of training was going great.  I hit a new all time high in mileage and was running a bit faster than planned since things had cooled off.  I was on top of the world and ready to rock the marathon.  I then wound up starting my taper a few days earlier than planned.

This tapir doesn't like to taper
I went out for an easy run and my knee didn't feel quite right.  I didn't want to chance things so I cut back the mileage and took extra rest days.  My knee hasn't really improved much but the pain goes away when I get warmed up after a couple miles of running.  The problem there is I'm all over the place while my body is trying to compensate for the cranky knee.  Think of Elaine Benes dancing, only in running form.

My form wasn't pretty and my legs have been paying for it.  I haven't had shin splints in ages, yet they reared their ugly head last week.  I knew it was from the way I was running and not the mileage since I had backed off.  I tried different shoes as well to see if that made any difference and it didn't.  I wound up spending one day running in the sand to get some work in and save my legs from as much pounding as possible.  It finally occurred to me what was going on....

Yip yip yip yip yip...
I have the yips!  For those who don't know the yips are a slang term for an athlete that has a sudden, unexplained loss of a previous skill.  The term originated in golfing when a player tried to explain his inability to putt.  The term is used in baseball as well and is also known as "Steve Blass Disease" after a pitcher who after several dominant years, including an All Star appearance, was unable to throw strikes.  The movie Major League II made a gag out of it as the rookie catcher was unable to throw the ball back to the pitcher.  I decided to follow Hollywood's lead when coming up with my solution - I needed to get my mind on something other than running so that the running part would just happen naturally.  In the movie the character memorized the statistics of Playboy bunnies and repeated them as he threw the ball back to the pitcher.  I went a simpler route and got a catchy song stuck in my head just before I headed out to run.  I have to say the plan was a success!  I could feel a bit of soreness in my lower legs to start after all the damage I've probably done the last few runs, but things got better and I felt great by the end.  That was the run I needed to get in before Sunday's marathon.

Anyone else having issues during their taper?  Any injury concerns?  Anyone have the up to the minute weather forecast memorized like I do?  Good luck to all my fellow marathoners!  Let's have fun and remember that the first goal is to finish and stay out of the medical tent!


  1. Yup, could be the yips. Every little twinge and minor ache gets magnified before the race. In any case, hope your knee feels better. I've had things that I thought would be problems before the marathon clear up after the first mile and then had something from an unexpected part of my legs creep up at about mile 13. So, you never know, you've just got to run the race and see what happens, I guess. Good luck!

  2. Pete always has the best advice! Nice gifs!

    My main issue is still some really tight muscles in my right calf that goes down to my achilles (but not an achilles problem supposedly) Lots of stretching, rolling, tennis balls, and I may be running the race on a high dose of advil!

  3. That tapir is the cutest!
    As you know, I'm all over the place too. But can't wait to just experience my first marathon no matter what the outcome.