Marathon Training Weeks 15 and 16 – Taper Blues and Phantom Niggles


There are now just three days left until the London Marathon – the only time a countdown has struck such fear into my heart was last year when I completed my MA degree.

Thank you so much to everybody who has supported me during the last year – I can’t quite believe that the marathon is nearly here, but without the support of my friends and followers of this blog and instagram I know that my experience of training would be entirely different and not for the better.  The generous sponsorship I has received is my biggest motivation and I can’t say how grateful I am!

If you would like to sponsor me then please visit

Onto Weeks 15 and 16 and tapering!

 In theory I was so excited for the taper period, and at first I was, but I’ve increasingly found myself restless and growing anxious about the marathon.  It would seem that putting in the grind of training trains your mind as well as your body.  I have been concerned that I was doing too little, not unfounded since I took the better part of a week off, and all of my runs have felt slow, sluggish, and painful.

Despite being told by my physio that despite having extremely tight legs, my injuries are much better and I should be fine, I feel little niggles everywhere and those niggles grow and grow in my mind.

I finished my 21 mile run two and a half weeks ago and felt very tired but also really prepared and excited to take on the marathon.  The taper period has instead left me feeling a little down in the dumps and doubting myself.  I think I have a case of tapering blues.

I’ve been doing more short runs and gym workouts, with no long runs due to my schedule.  The longest I’ve run during the taper period is 6 miles.  I feel quite guilty writing this out and have been plagued by the constant fear of not doing enough or trying hard enough.  This in turn has led me to dread going on a run in case of any pain or negative feelings occurring as a result.

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However, I had my breakthrough run yesterday morning.  I still felt my phantom niggles but I was able to push past them and enjoy the run.  Something I really struggle with is relaxing and I’m far better in structured or pressured situations – hence why marathon training has worked well for me in many respects.  However, I’ve found the taper period so much more difficult because it means I have to put trust and control in systems beyond my immediate power.  I have to trust my training and realise that I have worked very hard for the last 17 weeks, and the past year in general.

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I finally admitted to someone how I’ve been feeling about the taper period recently, and felt so relieved to be told that this was entirely normal, so I decided to dedicate a blog post to the phantom niggles and tapering blues in case anybody else has found tapering a fertile breeding ground for marathon anxiety rather than a respite.

Let me know if you’re running on Sunday and how you’re feeling!



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