How to taper right

How to taper right

Ahhhhh, the taper. It would be the best part of training for everyone given the lower mileage schedule and lack of really long runs ruining your weekend…but alas, sometimes it ends up being the most annoying part of all.  Colds, flus, aches, pains, general nervousness and a new found strange inability to run well can all be hallmarks of the last 2 weeks before the marathon.

Not to worry! This is all normal! In fact, feeling worse or having new symptoms, pains and joint issues is completely normal! Who knows if most of it is just nervousness or the body just finally having a chance to take a break…but either way its exactly that…NORMAL. Although it won’t feel like it!

So here is some advice to make the taper work for you, even if you feel cranky from aches, pains, flus and general anxiety.

1. SLEEP. A ton. Chances are your nerves wont let you sleep the week and night before so starting to bank some sleep can really help. It also will aide recovery from your last long runs and help your body regenerate and be ready for the big day.

2. Cut your toenails. Yup. You want to do this one now, not a few days before, so you don’t have any rough edges that cut into your toes and bleed during your long race.

3. Stock up on fruits and veggies, water and electrolytes instead of ‘carb loading’. Carb loading is a bit of a myth. It is safer to keep eating whatever you have generally been eating before long runs or the morning of. Adding carbs will just add more sugars and starches which don’t help at all with muscular contraction. Electrolytes and the nutrients in fruits and veggies will. Stock up now so your body doesn’t need a ton on race day.

4. SIT don’t stand. Rest your feet. Standing in lines and walking all over the city should be kept to a minimum. They need to recover and refresh. Stay home and take care of yourself.

5. Plan an exact spot to see your friends along the route. The marathon is super crowded. If you don’t pick an exact corner, like “the SW corner of 1st and 61st” or “in front of White Castle”, you will miss your spectators. Remember you will see THEM before they see you, so you must know where to look.

6. Have a plan for after. You will finish on the West side on Central Park West, so have a plan that’s easy to meet your family. Either a restaurant on the UWS, or you can take the subway if need be to Columbus Circle. That’s probably the quickest and easiest central spot to meet. Just don’t be surprised if you

7. Switch to tylenol instead of advil, alleve or ibuprofen a day before and race day if you’ve been taking an anti-inflammatory or need one race day. Tylenol is processed mainly in the liver which is less likely to affect your hydration. (NSAID’s like advil, alleve and ibuprofen are filtered mainly in the kidneys).

8. Stay off fiber the day before and day of. Your body needs to spend energy and blood to move the muscles, not digest your food. Fiber takes longer to digest and requires more water.

9. Don’t buy or wear anything you haven’t worn in well. This goes for sneakers and clothes. New clothes and shoes will cause blistering, bleeding and other not so fun symptoms during the race.

10. SLEEP. This one made it to #1 and #10, so you can see how important it is!!

The taper should help you recover and store up some energy to get you ready for race day. No amount of training can help during this time, so don’t worry about your running quality or quantity. This is the time to take care of yourself so your marathon day will be spectacular!