what google taught me about marathon taper

Get ready for a short term relationship with complex carbs. Carbo loading is for the weeks before NOT just the night before. Sure, cake is a carb, but not the best for right now. Instead add more quinoa, oats, brown rice and other complex carbs. Nutritionists recommend 3-5 grams of carbs per one pound of body weight.

It's okay to gain a little weight during taper. In fact you should gain between 2 to 4 pounds. This is because "with every ounce of glycogen the body stores, it also stores three ounces of water."* And you want all your glycogen stores full up to the brim!

Don't leave your race anywhere but on the race course. Not in a peppy 6 miler, not in an all out fast finish to an easy 4. Just bottle it! For me this means NO music on the run. And when slow miles feel "hard" no worrying. It's just a mind/body disconnect. And race day magic is real.

You might feel achey, sore, or have ghost injuries. Do. Not. Freak. Out. You might feel slow or sluggish. Do. Not. Freak. Out. You might be super tired or feel like you're getting sick. Do. Not. Freak. Out. Apparently it's all normal. Seriously this sport ... so messed up.

This I've been bad at, but there is really no need to use up energy stressing or getting excited for the race. No reason to check the weather a million times or Google every weird run/race question you have...try to block it out. My plan was to catch up on the fashion, lifestyle blogs and watch some good movies. Rest and relax.

This didn't happen though. I mean I guess did watch like 4 hours of 30Rock on Sunday while working (hence the term 'mind grapes'). I don't know if things are really as stressful as they feel right now at work or if it's Taper Tantrums. But between that and race day anticipation... I feel like I'm having an excruciatingly slow panic attack. I'm just breathing and trying to check things off the list. No time for relaxation, but hoping to avoid paper-bag-breathing level of panic. Inhale. Exhale.

What tips have you picked up for taper success?


  1. I still haven't figured out the carbo-loading thing.... I definitely think it's only necessary for marathons but I still find myself either substituting junk like sugary bagels and cookies or just eating my normal diet...argh!

    I'd add to this list to have one little shake out run the day before the race with a couple of quick pick-ups - they keep the legs fresh!

  2. I typically only carbo load for about 3 days before the race, but try to eat sensibly and healthy during the whole taper so I have confidence that my body is in peak condition and not trying to process any junk that I put into it (this includes alcohol).
    This past race I really had to ensure that I also DID NOT PANIC over every little ache and pain. Seriously. Every slight injury or 'thing' that happened to me in the last four months seemed to resurface. But I was able to run fine during the race so who knows what that's all about.

  3. I'm full blown taper tantrums/crazies right now especially after seeing a man float down a street in Burlington in a canoe. WTF! I'm running a marathon there in 3 days! Fingers crossed the water stops rising and goes away quickly.

  4. I had the best marathon when, in the week leading up to the race, I forgot about it. I was super busy at work (hosting an off-site conference at a high security facility) and was there like 12 hours a day. I packed my lunches, drank tons of water...and sort of forgot about the race. And didn't run for like 3 days. Friday (the day before the race) we went to dinner and said to my husband "holy crap, I have to run really far tomorrow!" It was a sudden realization!

    And race day magic happened. In the form of a 13min PR. Just relax...you'll be awesome.

  5. I didn't know that about gaining a couple of pounds - interesting!

  6. I actually want to print this out. All such valid points. Both before the NYC Half and Eugene Full I SWORE I was getting sick (plague, obviously). Turns out, I was fine :)

  7. Such good tips! Thanks so much for sharing. I need to print this out and tape it to my forehead.


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