This is the big week! The big week of….REST! I have very low mileage, I won’t lift weights, and no core work. This is also when all the doubts set in. So I thought I’d share with you all things I do (and don’t d0), to try and make the taper the most successful I can.
Do: Eat lots of healthy, nutrient rich food. Your body will appreciate the vitamins and minerals, and you are running less, so more time to cook! I also hydrate more and will probably avoid a glass of wine with dinner – which I don’t normally have anyway.
Don’t: Eat lots of foods you’ve never eaten before. Even if these foods are “new to you healthy foods.” This is not the week to 180 your diet. You aren’t going to “fix” anything this week, so it is best to just eat foods that you know agree with you and things that are easy on your digestive system.
Do: Rest! Sleep in. Take it easy. Catch up on that Netflix show. Your job this week is to rest.
Don’t: Start cross training like a demon. Since you aren’t running, it is very tempting to start doing other things. I am VERY tempted to play around on my new bike! But cross training isn’t resting, and you are going to need that rest come race day!
Do: Read inspirational books. Read through your training log. Look at all those miles you race and that one time you did a long run and NAILED it. You are probably doubting yourself this week, take solace in all your hard work
Don’t: Scroll through Instagram/Facebook/Social Media COMPARING yourself to your friends and other runners. This morning I ran 3 miles, then I got on Instagram and saw another girl who is running Chicago ran 6 miles this morning. Immediately I was like, “OH NO! She’s doing more than me, she’s gonna be more prepared!” No. Stop it. Trust your plan. You have no idea what those other people have done or will do. Just tunnel vision on your plan and know that everyone else is probably doing the same thing haha!
Do: Foam roll and stretch.
Don’t: Foam roll your muscles within an inch of lives. You aren’t trying to show up to the race with bruised muscles from your anxiety driven foam rolling. Yes, you can actually bruise yourself foam rolling. Yes, I have done it in the past. Don’t start going to hot yoga this week if you’ve never gone before. Do your normal stretches that you’ve always done and nothing more.
Do: Carb load a few days before the race. A couple days before, just shift the foods you are eating to mostly carbs. In my experience, carbs pair well with fats (hello avocado toast, bread and butter, peanut butter and apples), so be mindful you aren’t eating a ton of fats.
Don’t: Use this as an excuse to overeat. The term “carb loading” calls to mind stuffing yourself – literally loading – your body with all the yummy carbs that you normally wouldn’t indulge in because you are going to need all that fuel, right?
Wrong! The idea is to top of your glycogen stores. You don’t want to eat to the point of being full and sick. However, please keep in mind that it is totally normal to gain a few pounds of water weight the week before your race. When your muscles are full of glycogen, they are also going to hold some water, and that’s ok. I find the feelings of worry about gaining weight do not have a hold over me when I am eating nutrient rich food.
Do: Take a little extra time to make a list of everything you will need for race morning or race day if you are traveling. You don’t want to stress about it, so write it down. I often think of things as I go throughout my day, and add them to the list. That way, when I go to pack it is much easier and I’m not wishing I had something I wanted on race day.
Don’t: Buy a bunch of new gear or clothes to wear on race day. You need to race in what you’ve been training in. I know it is tempting, but you never know what could start chafing after an hour and half if it is not already road tested. I usually do buy myself a new outfit for race day, but I do it during peak week and wear the outfit for a long run or two.
What are your taper tips?
What do you like to do the week of before a race?