pre-marathon (or half marathon, or any run race) advice
posted: August 14, 2014
Taper tantrums, you know? No? Let’s break it down:
/ˈtāpər/ – verb:
1. diminish or reduce or cause to diminish or reduce in thickness toward one end.
2. gradually lessen.
3. the point at the end of a runner’s training cycle when s/he turns into a manic human, frantically devouring every carbohydrate within arms reach while possibly weeping.
/ˈtantrəm/ – noun:
an uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration, typically in a young child.
Picture this: You’ve spent 14 weeks giving up things you love (sleeping in, social events, bourbon, your toenails) to take on something that feels bigger than you. Maybe you’ve set a new time goal that makes you dizzy to think about it, or maybe you’re taking on a brand new distance. You have pushed yourself out the door when you’re exhausted; you’ve run distances you previously thought were impossible at paces you never could have imagined. You have literally put your blood, sweat and tears into this and now, two weeks from race day, it’s time to put your feet up and calmly bask in all of your athletic glory, right?
Think about it, you’ve spent a good part of each day for the last three months being—by most people’s standards—incredibly physically active. Now that your mileage is drastically decreasing in an effort to conserve energy before race day, you’re left with a surplus that can leave you sobbing while watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition and eating a lumberjack’s share of lasagna. (No? Just me? That’s cool.)
The truth is, this section of your training can leave you feeling a bit out of sorts; read madder than the Hatter. The struggle is real, people. The good news is there are ways to navigate it so you make it to the start line in one piece.
7 Pre-Marathon Tips To Get To The Start Line In One Piece
1. Breathe. No, seriously, do it. Deeply and often and whenever you feel like you could stand to blow off some steam.
2. Get enough sleep. This is your chance to actually rest and build the energy stores your body is going to need if you’re going to leave it all out on the course. In terms of how many hours sleep you need per night, every person has their own magic number, but you should definitely make getting the right amount for you a top priority.
3. Don’t be a hero. You do not need to do more kilometres than what your training plan says, no matter how fresh your legs feel. Lacing up more than you need to is pretty much asking to be in less than optimal shape come race day, or worse, sick, injured and sidelined. No thank you.
4. Put high quality fuel in your body. Many runners crave carbs and carbs alone, especially during your weeks of taper. Resist the urge to eat the entire pizza. Ensure that you’re balancing your diet with proteins and delicious leafy greens (your mother was right!) to prevent feeling bloated and sluggish from carb comas.
5. Back away from the scale. Whatever water weight you put on during this time is not going to destroy you on the course. Worrying about a number will. Walk away.
6. Phantom pains and panic attacks? They are normal and you are doing just fine. Your body is most likely just sorting through all hard work you put it through and getting you ready for the big day. Don’t stress about the random pain in your foot that has never presented itself before. Draw yourself a warm bath, crack a beer (or tea, whatever floats your boat) and spend some time on your mat to help you relax.
7. Trust your training. You have put in the work. You have earned this. You’re ready to go.
Just nine more sleeps until SeaWheeze!