This weekend I completed my last long run before my upcoming half marathons. The first one is on April 22nd (Earth Day). Tapering is a great time for the body to rest and repair itself in preparation for race day, yet it is hard on the mind. I have struggled before with tapering before a race and am working on a plan to get me through as painlessly as possible.
1. Think rationally. Ha! I am sure this is much easier said than done. I always tend to feel like I need to do more – more speed work, more lifting, more. Realize that “more” is not a good idea at this point in time and perhaps write out some goals to work towards after my upcoming races.
2. Sleep. The night before the race is never a good night to sleep for me. I will try to focus on sleeping well between now & then.
3. Eat. I have a tendency to cut back when I am not running or working out as much. Focusing on proper nutrition to help my body recover from training and get ready for the race is going to be my way to combat this.
4. Follow the training plan as written. Do not add miles when tempted to. The plan was written by an experienced coach and was written this way for a reason.
5. Hydrate properly. I always do this, but it is more important now than ever. Upping water intake the day before the race is too late.
6. Do not let my mind play tricks on me. There is a quote that one of my MIT coaches uses “The hay is in the barn.” There is nothing else that I can do now that will prepare me any better at this point.
7. Have faith in the hard work that I put in during my training.
I have written all of these out on a piece of paper that I plan on taping to the wall behind my desk.
For more tips on tapering, check out this article from Runner’s World.