The glorious, slightly grouchy, world of taper time
Are you training for a running event and getting the last minute panics over not doing enough? Read on….
After your longest training run, resting, stretching, rolling, eating well, sleeping well and hydrating well becomes your priority. You have done the hard work and any km that you clock from here on in should be gentle and easy without any nasty hills – even if you did not make the full distance on your longest run, DO NOT try to make it up now as resting will be much more beneficial for you and your race outcome.
The OzSquad marathon plan has a 22km, 18km and a couple of short runs in it during the taper period – be super mindful and aware of how these runs feel. If niggles start playing up or you are totally exhausted, do not be afraid to cut them short, go home and spend the time stretching and rolling instead.
The reduction in exercise may make you grouchy. THIS IS NORMAL. You may get the fear that you are not doing enough. THIS IS NORMAL. You may start to think that your left ankle/hip/right earlobe is hurting you. THIS IS NORMAL. You may think that you are getting sick. THIS IS NORMAL. Try to relax and have faith in your training.
If you do any other exercise as part of your usual routine (OzSquad, yoga, gym, swimming) by all means continue in the 7-21 days out, BUT back off on the intensity and for godsake don’t do anything new. Now is not the time to take up surfing, pole dancing or Cardio Tennis. (I’m not sure when is an appropriate time to take up Cardio Tennis, but that’s another blog). If you know how your body reacts to them, get a sports massage but leave at least 3-5 days recovery after it before raceday.
In the week before the race you should only be resting, running very, very lightly and potentially going for an easy yoga session IF you have done it before. Eat normally – carb loading is fine, but don’t overdo it. You will be carb loading anyway if you eat the same as you have during training as your training load will be lighter during the taper period.
Personally, on the three days before a race, I do nothing. That’s right, it’s pretty much the only time you will find me sitting still – I quite like to sit in our oversized armchair and read motivational sporting biographies to get the blood pumping. You might find that going out for a very easy couple of km keeps you more sane than the latest paperback.
Use the extra time available to you to plan your race – familiarise yourself with the course maps, organise your travel, get your race outfit ready, work out how your nutrition will fit around the water stations, have a pace in mind if you are targeting a time and visualise yourself crossing that glorious finish line.
During the final week, you can’t rest too much, but you can overdo it. Now go put your feet up and read that last sentence again please. 🙂