Tapers mess with your head!!In the last few weeks before the big race, the body physically starts to feel better, yet emotionally you can start to fall apart. This is especially true if you are not fully aware of the process, whether you’re a first time marathon runner or ironman, or have years of experience. The training volume is decreasing which allows the body to get ready for the race. With the shorter, and less frequent runs, you may find that, at times you feel fast and ready to go. At other times, you may feel like you're wearing a lead apron. Sometimes, there are runs during the taper where both of these happen within a few minutes of each other! As a rule, if you feel fast, beware of not pushing too hard or too long; recovery is goal number one. If you feel slow and sluggish, don't panic, and realize it is all part of the taper.
The physical part of training for a marathon is now essentially over. With the extra time we have in these last days leading up to the race, our (race) focus should be more on the race itself, rather than the training that it took to get to this point. We should already have our nutrition plan in place, and should be prepared for any race condition, whether it's 40 degrees and windy or 90 degrees and humid. We should have an idea of how our pacing is going to be, think about the clothing, make sure our shoes are going to hold up and even plan how we will get to the start of the race (not always an easy task with the Boston Marathon).
We should also be watching what we put in our mouths. With less training, comes less calorie burn. If the intake remains high, the weight will go up. For me, this is a time to be serious about cutting those last few pounds and optimizing body composition (weight, body fat %, hydration) and getting to the desired race weight. It’s not a time to load up on carbohydrates or skimp on the protein. In fact, the opposite is true, if anything. However, radical changes in the diet should be avoided.
My goals are set, I’ve prepared to the extent I can prepare, and race day will be here very soon. I won’t worry about anything out of my control, such as the weather conditions. It’s time to get excited about the attempt to achieve a goal that was set many years ago. It’s another chance to check one more thing off "the list": Sub 3 hour Boston.