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The Testy Taper

At the end of any training session for an endurance event comes the taper. This is when, having reached the point that you can run, bike, swim, whatever for the full race distance, you back off your training to recover and conserve energy in time for race day. I’ve only tapered once, for the half-marathon I ran three years ago. What I mostly remember from it was feeling restless and agitated at no longer having my usual outlet for energy. It was made worse by the fact that all that training built up energy reserves to a new peak.

Simon is tapering now, and it’s not pretty. The soccer season ended two weeks ago, an unhappy event that coincided with shorter, darker, colder days. Matt and I are not so secretly relieved to have ease in our schedule. Now we have a soccer skills practice on Thursday, a tennis clinic on Sunday, and are otherwise free for un-rushed meals, homework assignments, and weekends.

Simon, on the other hand, is one crabby, cranky kid. He’s got energy to burn, no decent outlet for it, and is suddenly a moody, boundary-testing, hyper sensitive kid I hardly recognize. I know he just turned eight, but the timing seems suspicious; I don’t think this is about age. My theory is supported by the fact that last week, Simon was his usual sunny self on Monday, when he played with a friend all day, Thursday, when he had soccer, and Sunday afternoon, when he had tennis.

So what are we to do with this Mr. Hyde? Last year we dropped him into the last third of a soccer season and payed a prorated rate. I really don’t want to do that again this year, as there is so much going on between Thanksgiving and the new year. I think my best bet might be to take him out on runs with me, but the problem there is that Simon does 8-9-minute miles and I do . . .  uh . . . considerably slower ones. I’m thinking the best solution for now might be to take him with me for longer runs and hope I can make up for the slow place by doubling his usual distance. Five or six miles might—-just might—take the edge off. For now.

But then what do I do next year, when he’s going to have even more speed and endurance? There’s got to be some way to keep Mr. Hyde away!

One Response to “The Testy Taper”

  1. goldsteinrita says:

    See if you can get him interested in joining the basketball team at Brandeis.

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