All Of The Miles Have Been Logged
The reality hit me at my desk this morning; in 4 days I have a half marathon to run. This week is the dreaded taper week and I am finding out it is a true test of your mental capacity, discipline and patience. None of my runs are over 3 miles. I did a recovery run Monday at noon and another 3 mile tempo run on Tuesday and lunch, as well. Today, Wednesday, I will do a small cross training exercise at home, which will be a 20 minute kettle bell routine that I will put together for myself. Tomorrow will be an easy 2.5 mile run just to keep the legs loose and then, no more running until Sunday at 10 am when I set out to do 13.1 miles for the second time in my life.
I am doing my best to keep my eating extra healthy this week while not doing anything new or different that might affect my body. My vegetable intake has been upped. I don’t eat anything after 8:30 or 9pm and all of today’s meals will be meat free. Tonight I will treat myself to my home-made popcorn, which I make over the stove using coconut oil and light salt. In the days leading up to the race I do have carbs but they are the healthy kind; sweet potatoes, quinoa, couscous, brown rice.
Sleep and Rest have been the key point to the taper week. One of the best bits of advice I ever learned was to get your rest in the week before a race and not to stress over the night before since most people are too excited / nervous to get a good night’s sleep the night before the race. My wonderful wife has been getting up at whatever early hour our cat decides to wakes us up (usually between 5 & 6am) so that I can get my extra bit of sleep. I can’t thank her enough for doing this and I will thank her in advance for putting up with my nerves as race day approaches.
As far as the carb load goes the night before the race I have learned and practiced another bit of great advice: DON’T CHANGE FROM WHAT YOU NORMALLY EAT. I can say I take that a step further and use the night before my long runs to see what works and what doesn’t. I rarely eat pasta. It’s one of those foods I came to accept as being not that good for me. I will eat it occasionally but I rarely to never cook it at home. So I don’t make spaghetti the night before my race. Tomato sauce can also trigger my heartburn and so can red meat so I will skip the traditional pre-race carb load meal.
What will I eat the night before a 13.1 mile race? I will make a lean protein like skinless chicken breasts, a hefty amount of greens like broccoli and / or asparagus, possible a green salad on the side and my carb source will be either brown rice or a nice, big sweet potato. Now, I will break my white bread rule because we have a place like DiBruno Bros. where you can buy a fresh baguette that doesn’t have all the preservatives. I love making my concoction of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip the bread in. I may or may not watch Rocky (the original one) but I certainly will watch the training scene. I LOVE that part of the movie. Most people remember the scene with him running up the Art Museum steps but I love when he sprints past the Moshulu ship. I even stand up and yell, “GO ROCK!!!!!”
The morning of the race, I will wake up after maybe 4 hours sleep, and make myself a green juice. I won’t eat anything too heavy the day of but will probably puke since that seems to be a race day tradition lately. I picked up a neat trick / idea from the Food Babe website. If you soak chia seeds in water, wait ten minutes at least and drink, it keeps your body hydrated longer. It’s an old Aztec trick and I trust them when it comes to hydration and running!
My “light at the end of the tunnel” for this race is the end to my Sober October. Cutting out alcohol has helped to keep me light and to even get my weight down a bit over the past 4 weeks. However, the time has come to celebrate with some excellent IPAs. I have a few more races coming up, including a 10K the following Sunday but I will follow-up on that in a future post.