Taper Week

Rob MacKenzie, a member of the PEI running community and Board Member of the Prince Edward Island Marathon, is writing a series of articles for The Guardian Newspaper on a variety of running related topics. Have a read through his articles for some up-beat motivation and funny stories to keep you on your toes, pun intended, as you prepare for your race at the upcoming BMO Nesbitt Burns Prince Edward Island Marathon Race Weekend!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Anyone getting ready for the PEI Marathon events this weekend will have gone through or are about to go through a lot of the same emotions and anxiety that most kids do leading up to Christmas. Nervousness, giddiness, anxiety, and constantly asking, “Is it time yet?” This week, also known as Taper Week, will be one of the toughest and most important weeks out of all of your training; and it will have nothing to do with physical exertion and will be about how you handle your emotions and recovery.

Getting plenty of rest is probably the most important thing you can do this week. Deciding to chop 3 cords of wood this week may not be the best thing to do this week. Making up for missed workouts this week is not a good idea either. Take it easy and relax. Cut back on your training and get lots of sleep.  Don’t stop exercising all together, just cut back. Your body will thank you.

This week would be a good week to try and get some good quality whole grain carbohydrates and protein. Remember, you are trying to help your body heal and recover from the months of training. Good quality food will help the process. In the last few days leading up to your event increase the percentage of carbohydrates in your diet, rather than eating lots more calories.

Achy legs, mystery pains, and feeling on edge are normal. All of a sudden you’ve gone from training on a regular basis to a more leisurely lifestyle. Your body doesn’t know what is happening so it gets a little weirded-out. Some gentle stretching, foam-rolling, and even a massage can help keep things loose and keep you relaxed. Maintain a similar schedule to what you have been doing all along, just with reduced intensity and volume.

This week is not the week to try new stuff. Stuff like; the new ethnic restaurant, the new weight-lifting routine, the new diet, the new gear on race morning. You get what I mean. Stick with what you know this week. If you do have new gear for your event, at least try it on a few easy training runs this week to make sure everything fits right. Stick with a breakfast on race morning that you have tried before your training sessions.

The night before your race lay-out all of the clothes you will or may need for the morning. Mid-October mornings can be quite cool so have a plan on how you will keep warm while waiting for the race to start.  Have some “throw-away” clothes that you can leave behind once you start running.  My biggest fear is sleeping-in race morning, and having to rush around getting ready. I have had a few sleepless nights because of this so I’ve learned to set multiple alarms.  Getting all of my stuff ready beforehand also helps put my mind at rest and I am less likely to forget something.

The start of a race can very exciting and your adrenaline will be pumping. It’s very easy to get caught up with the crowd only to crash and burn early into your event. Place yourself in the start corral based on your running ability so that you are able to start at a comfortable pace without being frequently passed.  Lastly, enjoy yourself and take pleasure in the fact that you are participating in a great event that has hopefully helped with your fitness and health.

Thank you for dropping by the past few weeks and I hope I will see you at the PEI Marathon finish line on Sunday, October 19th.

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