Race Week – Still Tapering
Race week is here! This is my favorite time of the year, because all YOUR hard work is about to pay off. You are tapering (resting), hydrating, eating well, and planning for race day. We are here to help you along the way. You’ll hear from me a lot in the next couple days. And as always, if you have any questions or concerns either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Ask Coach Aimee section of the Cap City Facebook page.
Last year I wrote a long piece all about tapering. Instead of trying to do it again using different words, I reposted it here. I do however want to hit on a couple things about this week and the most important of them is to rest and treat yourself well.
During the taper – when in doubt sit it out
That corny slogan goes for pretty much anything that seems like it could make you more tired or add to your stress this week. If you feel like something is off or hurting you a bit, don’t run. Your job for this week is to rest, refuel, and reload all your carbohydrate stores so that you are ready for Saturday. Don’t go on a big hike on Tuesday just because the weather is amazing (which it will be). Try to avoid eating something brand new this week. If you are feeling tired or stressed, get to bed a little early. Now is not the time for extra training or a new activity. Wait until next week to try something new!
So far the weather looks like it might be wet, but you never know in Ohio. It may change 5 times between now and Saturday morning. Either way, you cannot control it. You can however control how you prepare for race day. Make sure you are hydrating properly. Drink your water throughout the week, making sure you are fully hydrated (but not overly so). On Friday, you can even drink a sports drink if your stomach is used to it so that you are making sure get electrolytes and some carbs with your fluids. Avoid alcohol and too much coffee/soda on Thursday or Friday. If you normally have a cup of coffee every morning, that’s fine, but don’t be getting an extra tall grande super caf caramel whoosiwhat on the way to the expo Friday night. You can have that after the race!
Coach Julie wrote a nice piece about nutrition last week, check it out here.
I am not a huge believer in the tradition of carb deplete/load (which is a cut in carbs early in the week and then a short blast of them on the day or two before an event). It might work on a cellular level, but what you don’t know unless you’ve done that before is how your gut will respond. My take is to simply eat well balanced meals, avoid junk carbs (donuts, white bread, fried stuff, etc) throughout the week. On Friday make sure you get most of your calories from good carbohydrates as well as lean protein. All of the pre-race meals should have been practiced during your training so that you know what your tummy will handle, or more importantly will NOT handle. My go to pre-race dinner is plain whole wheat or quinoa pasta or rice, with a little olive oil and a dash of parmesan cheese. Sometimes a little grilled chicken. This ALWAYS works for me. It’s boring but it’s only one day and I know it works. If I deviate from that, sometimes I regret it! Whatever has been working for you the night before your long run, do that this Friday.
The work is over, you can trust in that and know that you will see that finish line on Saturday. I love mantras and Robb Kestner, the Columbus Marathon winner in 2007 always has fantastic ones. I have made two of them my own. First, I never say to someone “Good luck at your race” because it is not about luck it is about training so we say “Trust Your Fitness.” The second, Robb-ism that I love is that now in taper time and especially on race week “The hay is in the barn.” That means you’ve put in the hard work and have been stocking up your fitness for race day. Saturday is the day to cash in on that fitness and celebrate how far you have come!
Enjoy race week! I can’t wait to see you all at the expo and at the finish!