Happy New Year everyone and happy one week until WDW Marathon Weekend!
This time next week people will be heading to the expo to hit the first stop on their WDW Marathon Weekend adventure and no matter which race you are running, you are probably getting excited and a little bit nervous for that start line.
If you are running the half or the full marathon (or the Goofy or Dopey challenge) you are also in the thick of your taper and well that can be stressful. Since this is my 7th Dopey and my 21st marathon I thought I’d share my tips for what I try to focus on during the taper period to ensure I don’t get too anxious and continue to “trust my training”.
The point of taper is to give your body the rest it needs to recover from the difficult mileage and training you were putting it through so you are ready to go on race day. So basically, your muscles are recovering but you aren’t losing much fitness so race day you are fit and your muscles are ready to carry you the distance!
Here is what I try to focus on:
Sleep – Sleep is the priority for this time period and is key to your recovery. If you are running around super stressed out and not sleeping, you are not allowing yourself to properly recover and missing the point of the taper!
Hydration – Especially as you get 4-ish days from race day, you need to start hydrating completely so that you get to the start line with your tank full. Aim for half your body-weight in ounces of water and remember electrolytes too!
Nutrition – Again, the point of taper is to let your body recover so you need to make sure you are fueling with the right stuff. This is NOT the time to try a new crash diet to lose weight for race day or to just throw caution to the wind and indulge a ton (but it’s the holidays so I know for me this was not possible). Continue to try to eat high-quality, whole foods, lots of fruits and veggies, and eat like you normally would.
Rolling/Stretching – To properly recover, I try to help my body “reset” after putting it through the stress of training by giving it a little more TLC by making a point to stretch and roll out my tired and recovering muscles. This is also easier to do since I’m not spending as much time running, so I channel my extra time and nervous energy into gently rolling and stretching. The aim is not to start working on doing major stretches but to just let your muscles stretch and recover a little extra.
Core Strength – So this might not be something that ends up on many lists but doing some core strengthening is another way I channel my anxious energy. Towards the peak of my training, core work tends to get the backseat since my body just feels so exhausted from all the running so I use this time to fine tune my core strength. Again, I’m not working any of my muscles to complete exhaustion but just making a conscientious effort to plank and do some light core work everyday or every other day.
Bonus – Since I’m tapering for a runDisney race I also try to get more time on my feet during my day-to-day to prep for park time! I try to use my standing desk more, walk during lunch, maybe take the dog on a little longer walk, and just try to get up on my feet a little more than usual. Don’t go crazy but a little bit will help get you more comfortable on your feet!
Training for any distance is hard and during taper you will have extra energy to burn so channeling it into the right things is important. Hopefully these tips help!