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Gold Coast Marathon Top Ten Taper Tips

June 22, 2012

The premier running event of SE Queensland is only a week away and final training preparation us underway.  There’s not much you can do to make yourself faster right now, but there are things you can do to make yourself slower and have a really bad day.  Here’s my top taper tips:

1.  Don’t overdo your last long run.

Your last long run can be anywhere between 17-20km but don’t bother doing too much more than that.  You want fresh legs next Sunday, so don’t try and be a hero or put some last minute catch up work in.  There’s no such thing as catch up training in distance running.  Don’t try run too fast this weekend, just enjoy the scenery and your company (if you have some) and feel proud about what you’ve done to this point.  Visualise your race and start looking forward to the reward of hard work.

2.  Sleep

Make sure you get some good long hours of sleep next week, if you can.  Many of us can’t guarantee that, especially parents or shift workers, etc.  If you can, make plans to sleep longer than usual and arrive at the race fresh.

3.  Hydration

Don’t start drinking water the day before, too late.  Start hydrating now and make it a habit that you keep.

4.  Pacing is everything

If you are looking for a PB then you need to have an idea of how fast you want to run, and then a pacing plan based on an even split pace.  Find out your predicted finishing time here based on recent races or time trials. Print out a pacing wristband here if you can’t keep it in your head. Let all the hot heads race off at the start and stick to your plan.  Remember that official pacers can often get it wrong.  Run your own race and according to your own time.

5.  Nothing New

Do not under any circumstances eat or drink anything on race morning or during the race that you don’t when training.  Don’t introduce some new wonder nutrition supplement someone sold you at the race expo, use that in training AFTER the race.  Don’t wear new shoes, obvious I know but I see it all the time.

6.  Lube it.

Make sure you have good anti-chafing solutions.  I swear by BodyGlide but others use a range of different solutions. There’s always some poor bloke with the nipple rivers of blood and a host of others with serious chafing.  Be a smooth operator.

7.  Ablution Solution.

Always take your own bog roll in case they run out.  Avoid last minute toilet queue angst by arriving early and going before the rush.  Avoid fancy restaurant meals the night before. They use rich ingredients and that’s not good for your gut.  Make your own simple pasta meal by taking a frozen meal with you for the night before.  If you do go out choose something basic. Starting the race on empty bowels and bladder makes for a great race day.

8.  Feet up.

If you can, spend time off your feet the day before.  Chill, relax, enjoy the pre-race atmosphere and don’t give your feet a hammering, cos you’ll do that on Sunday believe you me!  Get a massage if you can, make sure you’ve got no knots and that your muscles are in as good a shape as they can be.

9.  Stretch

Stretch often, stretch long (30 seconds minimum per hold).  Your stride on race day needs to be unimpeded by stiffness and your range of movement needs to be as good as you can have it.

10.  Clean Shoes.

I have a tradition where I give my race shoes a scrub a few days before so that on race day your shoes look sharp.  It helps me differentiate between just standard training and race day – which is special, and requires special effort. You’ll never see me racing in a pair of tired looking training shoes. Race day is the running equivalent of going to a ball or a formal, feels special, look special.

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