"I don't feel like myself!"
TAPER DO and DON'TS
Do lower the volume (ex. for a half or full Ironman, 2 weeks out from race day) and accept that at first, your body will experience a drastic change in the demands of the body. It's much better to feel a bit flat 2 weeks out from race day than on race week. Nearing 6-7 days out from race day, add a little intensity to your routine (with double to triple recovery time in between short intervals) to wake-up the body and to help you feel sharp. Remember that you are using your taper to fully (for the first time in a long time) fully absorb and recover from all your previous training so you need to find the right balance between rest and just enough time working out to keep your feel for your sport.
Do thank your body for getting you to your start line healthy and injury free. Remember, that same body that you may call names because it doesn't look/weigh what you feel is "ideal", is the same body that is going to get you to your finish line.
Do not worry about your diet during taper.
Do eat healthy. Consider the foods that will best prepare your body for your race. Foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and electrolytes will not only help to energize your body but will also keep your immune system healthy and well. The closer you get to race day, the more you will need to focus on the energy-giving foods that will digest the easiest (low residue/fiber). No need to carbo-load your body for two weeks but instead, maintain a healthy relationship with food so that you honor your biological hunger but also do not overindulge just because you are racing. To avoid feeling "heavy" from a slight increase in carbohydrates, make your morning meal your carb-rich meal and then add an extra snack during your day like fruit, raisins or a handful of granola.
Do not do fear based workouts.
Do not give your best performance in training, when no one is watching.
Do wrap yourself in bubble wrap, lock yourself inside your house and do not step close to anyone who is breathing. Only kidding - well, kinda. With all your extra time, it's very easy to take on responsibilities around the house or work that could cause injury or sickness. Or you may be seeking ways to fill in your free time and find yourself becoming extra social, in settings that your body is not use to. Be smart with your available time and seriously, just be ok with doing nothing. Your race is coming and you will have many hours to do something with your body in a week or two.
Whereas your training helped you gain fitness, your taper will allow you to best use that fitness on race day.
Above all, a taper is only as good as your trust in your previous training. Athletes who nail their taper have a great ability to stay focused, confident and determined to succeed. No matter how you feel your training went or how good/bad you feel during taper, never ever stop believing in yourself.
You are capable of so much more than what you think you can achieve.