The marathon taper week

So I take it by reading this you're either thinking of doing a marathon or already signed up with a chunk of training behind you, so well done.


People often ask me what are my tips for getting through the taper feeling fresh, but not over trained or mentally burning out from focusing on the elements I can't control, ie weather!


Tip 1.

Control what you can control. Don't over commit yourself to things like gatherings, parties, long work hours. You should also get some good sleep hygiene and maybe stay away from people who have a cold.


Tip 2.

Have your race strategy but make sure it is realistic to suit your training and surrounding environment, ie. Hilly, hot, windy rather than focusing on a time as a sole objective. Repeat, you are not one performance alone, but many over time.


Tip 3.

Pre race fuel. Eat well in the days leading into your event. Trying to eat a balanced diet up until Friday. That should also include the fact your training load is lower so slightly less than your usual training week.

Then from Friday on-wards, go carb heavy. Lots of simple, but high energy foods like white bread, white rice, lollies and avoiding high fibre foods like dried fruit and grain breads.

The dinner before your race can be slightly smaller to allow the gut digest most of the food from the day before.

The morning of, breakfast should be something you've trialed before and look something like white bread (sourdough) with honey or jam on toast or a banana with some peanut butter or honey.

Caffeine, ok, so I think caffeine is a great stimulant for performance. Just don't overdo it and save some room to have a caffeine gel for late in the race too.


Tip 4.

Warm up. Yep, no matter how far you're racing, include a least a few minutes of walking or light jogging to get your heart rate up a bit. Then do a few faster run thrus for the people racing. this allows your body to adjust to the pace your going to ask of it but not spike your heart rate in the process.


Tip 5.

Pacing. This is the fun stuff. What you've worked so hard for. Whether you're planning on walking sections or racing competitively, go out a little reserved and not "bank" time for the second half. History shows that the best performances come from a well executed race and showing patience. Once you've past 32-35km, that's when you let loose and either increase the pace or at least that increased effort results in holding your pace when you might otherwise falter. I know, easier said than done.


Tip 6.

Gels or other in race nutrition. It really depends, I take up to 8 gels. I often encourage those on course a bit longer than 3hrs to aim for at least 1 every 10km. So approx 4 but you can always consult a sports dietician to get your best fit. And stick with what you know, nothing new on race day please.

If you're running in a hot marathon, use the water stations to pour some water over your face to keep your temperature down.


Once you've crossed the finish line, celebrate. That's what it's all about. Find a friend, get around some other runners or soak it up with your family to acknowledge what you have done. You are a marathoner.

Dion Finocchiaro

Evolve Run Club Coach

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