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All posts tagged with: Tapering

The final countdown to marathon race day; marathon tapering

Marathon TaperingTraining for a marathon is a lot of hard work, time, and dedication. In 17 weeks, you can go from running a 10k to a full marathon. After building a house of endurance, strength, mental and speed, the final, and one of the hardest phases of training to comprehend for first-time marathon runners, is marathon tapering.

Marathon tapering is the final period of marathon training where the body gets the opportunity to repair itself and prepare for race day. There is a dramatic drop in distance and work-outs in the final training phase. This period is essential in order for the body to be in top shape for the big race.

Most people get the urge to deviate from the training schedule, but you have to trust it. Over the past 3.5 months, you’ve worked hard and despite your disbeliefs, your body really is ready to run a marathon, without any extra training.

An important part of tapering is mental preparation. Research the race day details, including how you are getting to the start line, review the race route, and plan your race day strategy. Determine which clothing you are going to wear (only wear clothing you’ve trained in), how much nutrition you need, hydration, and where you will meet friends and family at the finish line.

During marathon tapering period, recognize that the drop in distance means less calories are being burned each week, which means you need to decrease the size of meals and number of snacks throughout the day.

In the final week, avoid all caffeine, alcohol, and fats, including deep fried foods. Focus on increasing intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, and carbohydrates. In the final days, add extra salt and potassium to your diet.

Rest is a key component of marathon tapering. Going to be a bit earlier each night and allowing the body to recovery is important. Increasing your protein consumption will also help repair damaged muscles.

Phantom pains are not unusual during the marathon tapering period. Phantom pains have the sense of real pain, but you cannot actually pin-point where they are coming from. This is because the muscles are repairing themselves at the microscopic level, which are known to cause cramps or pains. During training, aches and pains are normal, but with the reduced mileage, pains you’d typically ignore become sensations which are exaggerated to the point of insanity.

During taper period, it’s good to spend the evenings catching up on light housework, errands that do not include a lot of time on your feet, and catching up with friends over a cup of mint tea.

Visualize the race, mentally prepare for race day, and get you race plan ready. Enjoy the downtime!

Marathon Nutrition Tips for Taper Week and Race Day


Photo Credit: BMO Vancouver Marathon

For those running the BMO Vancouver Marathon this Sunday, May 6, 2012, or for any marathon in face, nutrition plays a key roll. After weeks and months of training, tapering week is about rest, mental preparation and paying attention to nutritional intake.

It is important to focus on maintaining the recommended daily intake of cabohydrates throughout the week to ensure your body has stored enough energy for race day. If you prepare correctly throughout the week there is no need for a massive carb-load the night prior to the race.

During tapering it’s important to decrease portion sizes of meals and snacks because you are running less km’s and will burn less calories.

On race day, stick to your typical long-run meal plan. A good meal plan for race day includes:

  • 1 cup of oatmeal with honey
  • banana
  • 30 oz sports drink

Throughout the race the average person will need to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrates (1-2 gels), plus water.

Post-race, carbohydrates, protein and water are required immediately and up to two hours after crossing the finish line. Chocolate milk, bagels and blueberries or bananas are great recovery foods.

11 Helpful Marathon Tapering Tips; Be at your Best on Race Day

The BMO Vancouver Marathon is less than a week away, the months of gruelling training is done and it’s now time to prepare your body and mind for race day. Here are some helpful tips to prepare you for a successful race day:

  1. Stick to your tapering run schedule. It’ll be temping to want to do additional training; you’ve trained for months and it’s time to store energy for the big day.
  2. Drink an extra glass of water each day to increase hydration and cleanse the body.
  3. Increase your salt level. Add an extra of extra salt to every meal. Your body will need it on race day.
  4. Increase your carb in-take, including potatoes, brown rice and whole wheat pasta.
  5. Reduce or eliminate all fat from your diet. Stay away from ice cream, deep fried foods, donuts, etc.
  6. Stick to a clean diet of fresh, natural ingredients including fresh vegetables and leaner meats like turkey and chicken.
  7. Refrain from alcohol, smoking and drugs.
  8. Decrease your caffeine in-take. Don’t have coffee, energy drinks, or soda the last two days before the race.
  9. Gear check. The day before the race affix your timing chip to your shoe, set out your running gear and pin your race bib to the front of your shirt. Don’t forget to include bandaids to cover your nipples to avoid chaffing.
  10. Prepare your water belt. Fill your water bottles and have all your nutrition planned out including gels, sport beans, blocks and your other fuel-replenishing supplements. Pack extra Advil for along the race route and the finish line.
  11. The night before the race take Advil to reset your body’s aches and pains from training and to start out race day feeling fresh.
  12. Get as much sleep as you can the night before the race.
Remember to enjoy marathon race day! It will be fun and exciting. Pace yourself and remember to cross the finish line up-right and smiling.

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