Updated: Apr 12
Is it race day yet?!
If you’re training for a spring marathon this year, chances are you are headed out this weekend for your last long run OR you are right in the middle of the most dreaded, anxiety provoking time of training RN. Yup, I’m talking about taper time. Whether it was my first marathon, the last few practices before NCAAs or preparing for my 11th marathon next Sunday, tapering has never ever been easy for me. What has gotten easier is trusting the process, the experts and just accepting that there is a method to these gruesome last few weeks. If you have done everything in your power to train on track, tapering is unfortunately necessary. And, if you dread this time as much as I do, here are 10 tips I’ve learned to appreciate while training for this sport we call marathoning.
1. Don’t change your schedule.
If you’re accustomed to training first thing in the morning, get out there at the same time you’ve been getting your training runs in. It’s important to keep your routine intact to avoid fatigue, cravings & just feeling off balance.
If you’re a yogi, do you ever hear your instructor ask if you’re breathing? Sure, the act of breathing is involuntary, but when your body is stressed, you naturally are less in sync with your movement and breath, and there is less oxygen making it to your blood. Being conscious about the breathing will do wonders for your overall well-being throughout your taper and also while you’re racing!
3. Pick up a new hobby and get creative.
Parkinson’s Law suggests that you will inevitably find something to fill up the additional 4+ hours/week you would typically be moving your body. Use this time to cross things off of that well-being to-do list & get creative. Using your creative muscle is proven to support your focus, enhance your problem solving ability & help you cope with stress. Everyone has the ability to be creative, so flex your muscles on the opposite end of those tired legs. I’m putting together all of the wedding invites & Christmas cards we’ve received over the years into a scrap book & rebranding my blog to take my mind off how I would typically be settling into a runner’s high around 6:50am every morning.
4. Cook 99% of your meals at home.
Not only is this a method to control your sugar consumption, but it’s also a way to avoid getting sick from bacteria in restaurants and from getting food poisoning. Being healthy on race day begins with taking precautions to take care of your gut!
If you’re typically the queen of double days, replace your second work-out with an afternoon walk. Spring is springing in most of the country, so take the time to take in the fresh air & scenery you might miss when you’re running sub 7s in the park.
6. Go to bed on time, and wake up on time.
Again, don’t change up your routine. Enjoy the extra time you have in the morning and rush to leave work in the afternoon to catch a run before the sun goes down.
7. Buy a new outfit to look forward to.
As artificial as this sounds, this little trick allow you to better envision and look forward to race day. It’s also a stressful time, you deserve some retail therapy.
8. Get your playlist ready.
... and I mean really ready! Make sure you look forward to every single song, don’t throw “empty” songs on there because you think you’ll listen to them. This will only distract you while racing.
9. Call or email someone you haven’t spoken to in years!
It won’t be exactly like a runners high, but it will feel really good to reconnect!
10. Plan every single hour of race weekend leading up to the event.
I cannot tell you how many times I have put 15,000 steps on my legs the day before racing. It’s fun to be in a new city, but don’t get lost at the expo or finding the key to the Airbnb. Make a reservation at True Food or another reliable restaurant that also exists in your own city who is transparent about their ingredients. Your mind, legs, and tummy will be so pleased with your planning, they’ll help you PR too!
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