12 Tips for Taper and Marathon Time

After a season of 12-32 weeks for a marathon, the last three weeks are geared toward tapering.  Initially, it is a relief knowing that the hard work you have gained through training is coming to an end. But also with it comes a new frustration knowing and not knowing how it will not only affect your body but also your mind.

After your final last long run, it is time to rest for your marathon.  It is perfectly normal to start to feel the aches and pains from muscles healing as you lessen your intensity, running miles after miles.  Feeling down and achy is also normal as your body adjusts to changes from training intensely.

Post-Marathon Recovery and Survival

If you are soon running (or have just run) a Fall marathon, you have trained hard and tapered carefully for the race.   In order to stay healthy and injury-free, it is equally important for you to follow a good plan for recovery on race day and in the days and weeks following your race:
Marathon Day Post-Race Activities:

Get your Finisher Photo Taken!  You will want the finished photo as a keepsake later so take the time to wait in line and get this photo taken, even if you feel like you are just too tired.

Keep moving immediately after the race.   Keep walking slowly and/or keep standing and moving, even in line for the race photo!   You definitely don’t want to sit down and run the risk of cramping or tightening up to the point where you can’t stand up or walk.

Practicing for Marathon Race Day

If you are training for a fall marathon, by now your long runs are approaching 20 miles. It is time to start practicing for your marathon. You should use your remaining long runs (or at least the last two) as ‘rehearsals’ for the race:

Meals and Pre-run Fueling – dinner the night before your long run and morning pre-run food should be exactly what you plan to eat before your marathon race to make sure it will not upset your stomach and/or cause unplanned bathroom visits. You also want to make sure your meal the night before fuels your muscles sufficiently for the long run effort. It is best to keep a good balance of nutrients the night before – try to stick with these approximate numbers: 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat.   Your morning pre-run food should be consumed at least 2 hours before the run and should consist of a simple carbohydrate, low fiber, low protein snack – such as a bagel with a small amount of peanut butter. You’ll need to experiment a bit with the pre-run snack to see what works best for you and your digestive system.

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