I thought I might be able to avoid it but I was wrong. I’m barely a week into my One City Marathon taper and the lack of miles has done it. Taper madness is here. With 15 days to go, I feel ready to race though I know more time to let my body rest will only be a benefit. Here are a few of my go-to taper madness ‘Do’s and Don’ts’.
Start reading. Take all those non-running hours and grab a book. Or a tablet or an e-reader. Even if you’re not actually running, you can get your fill of running excitement from any number of books. One of my favorites is Eat & Run, home to a great story and some tasty recipes.
Meditate. Practice relaxing. That hour you’d be running is the perfect time to meditate and visualize yourself yourself crossing that finish line. Get all the details from who’s standing near the finish line to what it reads on clock then remember if you’re not starting in Corral 1 to adjust it for your expected finish, not the gun time! Visualization can be incredibly powerful and the more you see it happening, the more likely it is.
Plan. Study the course map to create a game plan for hydration, find out what food is on the course and decide if you’ll be packing your own. Figure out what your pacing strategy is. Then come up with a few alternatives because we all know nothing ever goes just as we planned it. Learn how you’ll get to the start and home from the finish area. What’s the deal with gear check? Read the race’s FAQ page to help you develop a bulletproof plan for success on marathon day.
Be a Weather Monster. Yes, the weather is a big concern for a 26+ mile event when you’re out there for hours and hours. No, you can’t do anything about it. Checking it every hour for three weeks will just stress you out and that’s no good at all. Get a ballpark idea of what the race location’s weather is typically like that time of year, use your plan and make an educated guess. The truth is it’ll probably change anyway.
Change. Whatever you’ve been doing for the last 13 weeks, keep doing it for the next three. Your body is repairing, healing and getting ready. If your taper madness boredom leads to happy hour, you’re wrecking those weeks of hard work with poor sleep and dehydrated muscles. Stick with the diet, nutrition and sleep patterns that have successfully carried you through your training.
Get nervous. Something always goes wrong but that’s OK. You trained then you planned and you’re going to show up. There’s only so much you can control so don’t worry about anything else. Bad weather, misplaced water stations and potholes all happen but with a solid plan you’ll be just fine. Trust your training and yourself.
What are your favorite ways to tackle taper madness?