I've always found the taper difficult. Excited to "show your stuff" on race day, there's a great temptation to put in extra workouts to make sure you're ready... or just a little bit better. During training for my first half marathon, I completely tossed out the notion of a taper. Lesson learned. I have since learned to TRUST THE TAPER. It's hard, especially this time... With this being my first 26.2 miler, I'm pretty darn excited to add the title of MARATHONER to my resume.
So what does a runner do during "The Taper"??
• Cut back mileage. Last week I didn't do so well on this, but this week will be a significant cutback. (I started my taper a little early due to a schedule family vacation) The golden rule is to cutback mileage by 40% two weeks before the marathon, 60% on race week. During the last four days before the marathon, no runs over 3 miles.
• No more long runs. The final long run should be about 2 weeks before raceday. Trying to make up miles now will undoubtly hurt race day performance.
• Keep sweating! Just because you're cutting back mileage doesn't mean the last two weeks are a cake walk. It's important to keep the intensity of your workouts at a high rate... mileage may be short, but your pace should be as close to race pace as possible. This will keep your body sharp and ready for race day exertion.
• Go shopping!! Hello, race day outfit?!? Ideally, you should have already tested out your race day clothing. Now is the time to finalize all the details on the gear you need for race day. I've tested out my shorts and shirt, but I did order new ones in a different color to "make the outfit". Never ever wear brand new clothing on race day. Always take for a test run and wash, wash, wash. Get your watch, ipod, shoes, socks, headbands, etc... everything in order. If you're traveling for a race, it's never too early to start filling the suitcase or making a list.
|One of my favorite dishes... Salmon, broccoli & rice|
• Keep busy. I tend to zero in on work during the taper. Partially out of necessity... I'll be out of town for a couple days, so I need to get ahead on projects. This past week, I've also completed several household projects that have been calling my name all summer. It keeps my mind busy and the butterflies at bay.
|Just about done|
with this book!
Your turn... how do you handle The Taper?
Any advice for a 1st time Marathoner?