How to Taper (And Not Lose Your Mind)
You guys are getting ANSTY! 🙂
I had a great chat with some of you this week on twitter and the topic was on tapering. Obviously, I am your spokesperson for resting now that I am off running for a while and I have been doing a LOT of chatting of what to do with yourself when you are not running and how to manage all the extra pent up energy that you have been accustomed to throwing into running this summer.
I was chatting about the frustration I feel about being sidelined with a fellow athlete recently and she said something that resonated with me and I know you well enough, it probably will with you too:
When people first start running, the hardest part is training. You are grateful for the rest. As you develop and grow as an athlete and are type A as so many of us are, the rest becomes the most painful part of training because you don’t think you are DOING anything to further your sport.
I think that is the number one way that we need to change our views on rest. Resting is training. It is just as vital as those mile repeats on track day and when you are training, the higher the intensity and milage, the more vital it becomes.
Trust your training: You have spent months preparing for the upcoming races and now it is time to TRUST your training. You have put in the time so resting your muscles will only sharpen your potential on race day. If you have put in the work, you have nothing to worry about, but trying to make gains in the last three weeks will only harm you on race day. Your work is done.
Make your taper gradual: I follow a formula that was made popular by Pete Pfizinger which suggests that at 3 weeks out, you run 80% of your normal marathon training, at two weeks, you run 60% and the final week, you are only running 1/3 of your regular volume including the marathon.
I thought I would leave you with some of my fool proof tricks and tips for dealing with the “taper crazies” as I affectionally call them.
1. Focus your mental energy on consistent pacing. When you are running, chances are, you feel fresher than you have for months. Don’t be lulled into a false security and pick up the running pace – focus on regular and consistent splits.
2. Spend time with family and friends. Chances are, those closest to you have made some big sacrifices to support you in your training journey. Take this extra time to spend time with them and thank them for being there. It also helps take your mind off pre-race nerves.
3. Ditch the scale. It is normal to be concerned about gaining weight before your marathon but I’ll let you in on a secret: It’s ok to be a up a couple pounds on race morning, especially if you have carb loaded properly. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and check your nerves at the door.
What are your tips for staying sane while tapering?