TBM: taper (time) before marathon

I am prepping for my race on Sunday by going through the worst part of training: the taper.

Deep Fried Mars Bar

Hard to say what’s worse: enduring a taper or eating a deep fried Mars bar? Both would probably make me feel sluggish. (Photo credit: Kodamakitty)

There are a few key suggestions that every experienced athlete learns and passes on to the next inductee running the distance. What to eat (no simple carbohydrates or fried foods: bad, bad), how much to drink (half your body weight in pounds, in ounces of water), how to increase your stores of electrolytes (drink 1L of electrolyte fluid per day for 2 days prior to race day), and to sleep more, stretch more, relax more — and run less!

I’ve been cursed blessed with the distraction of my knee injury and am so focused on quickly rehabilitating myself that I’ve been less emotional, neurotic, antsy, anxious and distressed than I usually am. (My husband would probably beg to differ. I know I’m not fun around taper time.)

So instead of being a walking mess, this is what I have done, and how I’ve coped:

I’m wanting to eat all the time: it falsely abates my nervousness and anticipation, and soothes the deluded idea that I am hungry now because in a few days I will run 42.2 km.

I am counseling myself. Being scared or nervous is just a feeling. I can let go of a feeling.

I won’t change anything before race day – not even underwear. Yes, I will change my underwear, but not the underwear I run in. Nothing changes in my game plan between now and race day. Although, I’ll probably bring a whole second running outfit with me to the start line, just in case. (Just in case what? I see a naked woman about my height/weight running around and can offer her my spare clothes?)

I’m watching the weather. I’m glued to hourly updates since the 7-day weather forecast was available.

I’m wondering where the heck do I park? I do live in the same town as the race is in, but with road closures and my husband and I having different run start times, and kids to drop off  — I am wondering where to park. I may just get up an hour earlier than necessary and go with my husband. Then he can deal with the problem.

The Epic of the Hydrated Voodoo Doll -- Part 2

My hair is not yellow, but I’m staying away from these dollies. (Photo credit: Vincent Ma)

I will not jinx things. I have not told many people I am running a marathon — it is just a “race.” I have never run a marathon before and this is my first one. My husband tells more people than I do. My daughter actually leaked it to my mom — I didn’t even tell my mother! I don’t want to have others’ anticipation on me. (I know this is a silly thought: either you’ve run it or you haven’t. You either commiserate or are in awe). I want to do this for me, without expectation, but with support of family. I don’t want to talk about it til after it’s done.

There are a lot of emotions to get through with a marathon. I think because at this point you have trained so hard, for so long, you are either physically ready or you aren’t. (And if you aren’t you can always make do and suffer more.) Now there are only emotions. And drinking a lot of water.

The scariest part, I think, is just before the beginning. When we’re herded into our sections, waiting for the gun to go off, there will be nothing left to do but breathe, wait — and then run!


9 thoughts on “TBM: taper (time) before marathon

  1. You are so ready for this race. I think the taper is the worst part of training. All those little insecurities rear their ugly heads and assault your brain since you are running less. I always eat way more carbs than I need to and drink less than I should. I’ve run six marathons and tapering never gets easier.

    You will be ready on race day. All those hills, all those miles, everything, will all come together. It’s your first marathon, which means an instant PR! Don’t worry about your finish time, just enjoy the experience and make it to the finish line. There is nothing like your first marathon. I’m so excited for you, and can’t wait to hear all about it next week!

    • Yes, instant PR!! I love that.
      I’m excited about the race. I just want it to be Sunday! Taper is hard, but I’m trying to enjoy it all and remember that this is the only time it will be a first time. I can savor it for what it is and have fun.
      Thanks for your support. I’ll run a few miles for you out there!

  2. Good luck tomorrow! You are such an inspiration to me. I read your posts on running a 10K to help get me over my fears and now look at what you are about to do. I will be thinking of you tomorrow. You will do great!

  3. Pingback: This is the first day « iRuniBreathe

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