Let's Talk Taper
With Around The Bay just around the corner, March 26th to be exact, we thought now would be the perfect time to talk taper. Taper week or weeks (depending on your plan), are weeks most runners long for during training but loathe when they finally arrive. This period of reduced running and increased rest right before a race typically throws most runners for a serious loop and fills them with anxiety.
Why do we taper? The point of a taper is to chill. Tapers allow us to relax mentally and physically. Studies show that not only do you not lose fitness during a taper but muscle damage is repaired and muscle glycogen levels return back to optimal levels.
Up your your mental game. We’re big fans of race day visualization and goal setting. Visualize yourself running the race and overcoming any issues that may arise. Visualize yourself running strong and with ease and incorporate any running mantras you may use. Repeating your mantra at a time when you are relaxed, like during your taper will help calm you during the race when you repeat it.
Setting multiple goals helps ensure that you finish your race happy. We like to set three goals - an A,B and C goal. The A goal could be if everything during your race goes perfectly, and C could be just to finish. Make your goals attainable and visualize yourself achieving them.
Eat well during your taper. There isn't anything you can do in the few weeks leading up to your race to drastically improve your training, that's why resting is important. But there are things you can do during your taper that could negatively affect your race, and that's not eating well. One of the easiest ways to build up your run-down body is to feed it all the great, healthy foods it needs. This means, proteins (to help with muscle repair) and vitamin C (to boost your immune system and help keep sickness away).
Everyone gets antsy during a taper, afterall, they call it taper madness for a reason. The best thing you can do is get lots of rest, relax and trust your training. Don’t get us wrong a taper isn't an all out break from running, but rather a wind down and a perfect time to reflect on all the hard work you've put in and hammer out a solid race plan. The hardest parts of your training is over, now it's time to relax, breathe and enjoy the amazing ride that is racing. You’ve got this!
Happy Tapering :)