Friday, July 1, 2011

The Taper: Peachtree Road Race

It is taper time. Tapering is the period before an event where an athlete just rests. We are born to move. Our natural inclination is to run and run hard. When we train for fitness we lace up, sweat and train hard every day. I have recently added strength training to swimming, biking, and running. All of this puts adequate stress on the body. Before an event an athlete lets the body regenerate and recover. Training regularly is stressful on the body and when you have an event, like the Peachtree Road Race, you want to be in "racing form." You want to show up rested and fed a bit of carbs, but not too much as to lose your fitness edge. It is almost ceremonial how an athlete knows how to prepare the body for an event and get in "racing form."

Racing form comes from horse racing. Before betting on a horse the gambler would check the form, or piece of paper that described how the horse was running. If the horse had competed well it was said that the horse was "on form."

I have another idea about how tapering works for horses and athletes. Athletes and horses get accustomed to working or stressing their bodies. Your body expects it. You become dependent on that burst of energy. Ask any committed athlete and they will tell you that when life catches them in a snare and they can't workout they miss it. If you take a race horse off of the track and he just grazes he begins to pine for a hard run on the track. He will hoof at the ground to let you know he is ready. He will take shorts gallops around the pasture. His body wants to run.

Runners are like this too. If you take us off the track or trail for a few days we also begin to miss it. We begin to process the energy and strength that we have bottled up to prepare to run. We want to run just like a race horse. Here is to happy tapering for the Peachtree Road Race!

No comments:

Post a Comment