The mystery of the nagging taper pain…

My last running related post was about how surprised I was by my pre-18 mile run nightmares. Typical stuff one might dream about before any big event. You know the type of dream: the late to school, forgot your homework, forgot your class schedule, forgot to go to class all semester and suddenly showed up on test day naked kind of dreams. Just in running versions. Mine is usually about showing up late to the race in street clothes and carrying a 50 lb. backpack. Still. After 8 training seasons. Go figure. 

Another interesting phenomenon? The onset of some kind of weird pain during my last longish run before the race. Sunday’s pain? Tightness around my right knee. This wasn’t IT band. It was definitely more quad and related to my patella. It kept me company for the last mile of my run. Sigh. 

In 2019, I had sudden foot pain during one of my last short runs leading up to my marathon. I rested for over a week, self-diagnosed as a touch of peroneal tendonitis, self-rehabbed, and by the power of KT tape, made it through my race without pain. I never felt that particular pain again. 

It’s as if my body revolts in its time of leisure prior to the big race day, be it a virtual or live event. Even today, as I put the finishing touches and edits on this post, I’m feeling aches and pains that I haven’t felt all season. My body needs to realize that its job right now is to build glycogen, not freak out!

Why does this keep happening? Who knows. I think my brain in particular lends itself to self sabotage. If I had this weird pain, I can lower my expectations for my race. It seems to happen each time. While I don’t have this same issue before half marathons, it’s definitely a thing before a full. 

So when I felt that pain during Sunday’s run, I just kind of chuckled to myself. Yup. My weird taper pain has arrived. Crossing my fingers that this is all it is…


Have you ever had a mystery pain arrive in preparation for a big race that seemed to be absolutely benign? Or suddenly disappeared once your race was done? The mind is very interesting, indeed.

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness, speaking about the human experience, and in fighting for social justice. Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Boco Gear, SaltStick, SPIbelt, and Noxgear.

4 thoughts on “The mystery of the nagging taper pain…

  1. With me, before a big event, like where I have something really important to do, or start a trip, I will get a tickle in my throat, my ear will hurt, or I will feel a chill, like a fever! But the next morning, I go anyway, and I just forget about it! I’ve often thought about it, just like you said!

    Liked by 1 person

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