Top 5 things NOT to do during marathon taper:
- Pig out. Don’t eat like you are still running 70 miles a week! You scaled back on the mileage, also scale back on the eats, so that you don’t pack on the pounds and make it that much harder for yourself on race day.
- Get drunk. Even though Science Finally Confirmed What I’ve Known For Years that beer is good for marathoners, taper is not the time to go crazy and get drunk. Why? Heavy alcoholic drinking results in a projected loss of 14 days of training effect (I had heard that at a Life of An Athlete talk at my daughter’s school; resource here). You’ve worked so hard to get ready for the marathon, why would you want to get drunk and ruin 14 days of training??!?
- Stress out. You can’t control the weather. You can’t control if your plane to travel to the marathon city is late. You can’t change the training that you did (or didn’t) do. So don’t stress about the “what if’s” that may happen on (or leading up to) race day. Definitely think about them and prepare for what to do if they occur. But don’t OVERTHINK them and don’t stress about them!
- New exercises. I know. You are used to running a million miles a week and it’s HARD to cut back on exercise. You are missing the endorphins that running provides. So you want to get the endorphins in some other way. But now is NOT the time to try a new form of exercise that you’ve had your eye on. You don’t want to injure yourself, develop new areas of muscle soreness, etc. Stick with what you know. Do it in moderation. And remember, you are supposed to be resting and recovering. Think of the resting as training. Because it really is just as important at this stage as all those hard workouts were during your months of training!
- Doubt yourself. Easier said than done. I’m the Queen of Self-Doubt. But I’m working on changing because I now realize the importance of positive thoughts, having The Mental Edge, and believing! Use taper to look back on all that you’ve accomplished during your training and channel that into a positive, can-do attitude that you will take with you to the starting line. It will help! (I’m SUPER anxious to test this out during my taper and see the results on my marathon this time. I really think it will make a difference!)
Anyone have any other ideas?