Now it's time to put on some comfy pants, have your foam roller at the ready, and get your favorite eletrolyte drink prepared as we enter... the taper zone!
When I'm training for a marathon, I look forward to tapering like no one's business. I count down the miles until I'm officially in taper and can take a break from the long long runs of peak marathon training. However, tapering like training and running marathons, is something you have to practice to get better at. It's something that I'm getting better at but I'm still not perfect at but I discovered a lot through my 10 marathons, and as I begin tapering for my 11th I thought I'd share some thoughts.
My next race will be the Colfax Marathon in Denver and will be my first race at altitude here in Coloraodo. Like the rest of my marathon training plans, I'll have a 3 week taper where I let my body fully recover before race day.
While I enter the taper madness zone, I try to keep cool and remember these things as I approach race day.
So let's get comfy and talk about playing it cool before you rnext big race!
Trust Your Training
- This is the hardest one especially if you didn't stick 100% to your training plan. My goal is always to try to stay as true as I can the last week of "real" training before taper. It helps me mentally as I face the next 3 weeks of dialing back the mileage with 26.2 miles ahead of me. I can always go back and remind myself of the training I did and trust that it will be enough to get my across the finish line.
- The most important part of tapering is taking care of yourself. You want to rest so you can be at peak performance level on race day and this includes getting a lot of sleep especially in the week leading up to race day. It's hard because stress dreams creep in as you approach race day and also running less might mean you are less tired and thus have some restless nights. Don't worry, just make sure to take care of yourself!
... a little bit. Without running taking up all of my time, I like to mix in more core workouts and some squats to make sure I can strenghten my hips and core a little bit more to give me the edge on race day. Don't over do it because taper is about letting yourself recover. Adding in a little bit helps me calm my nerves a bit as I approach the race.
In the weeks leading up to a race I tend to eat a little better. I skip the candy and drink lots of water. In the week before the race I try to eat more carbs, less processed sugar, and drink lots of water to make sure my body has the fuel it needs and is well hydrated before I hit the start line. Again, use common sense and take care of yourself leading up to race day!
Trust Your Training
part 2 - I'm going to end on this piece of advice because it's THAT important. The few weeks leading up to a marathon is NOT the time to make up missed miles that you were suppose to do. Trust that your last 16+ miler will get you to the finish line and follow your training plan to a T for the weeks leading up to the race. You WILL get anxious. You WILL get restless and this is all a part of the discipline it takes to run a marathon.
The moral of the story in the weeks leading up to your race:
- Anxiety is normal
- Get sleep
- Eat right
- Trust your training
... and just take care of yourself as you approach race day! Good luck all!