Thursday, October 2, 2008

On The Run - As marathon approaches, number of questions arise

As Marathon Approaches, Number of Questions Arise

Only two weeks left until the BMO Nesbitt Burns PEI Marathon weekend! I
know you can’t wait. Many questions arise about training as the big day approaches.
Have I done enough? Am I ready? How many more runs should I do? The last few weeks of your training is called the taper phase or active rest phase. Tapering is the best part of a running plan because it’s when mileage is reduced and your body adapts to the stress of training over the last several months. All the hard work is done, and this is the pay off.

The taper should start at least two to three weeks before your target event. So
what do you do now? Well, you’re running up to 50% less than your peak mileage, so there is loads of time to focus on physical and mental fine-tuning and preparation. Start with a much-deserved massage. You have been working hard for weeks and this is a great way to reward yourself, loosen up your legs and reduce stress. Make sure the massage is at least a week before the event. Too soon before and you may feel heavy or sore. Stretch everyday. It’s very important at this stage in the game to stay loose and relaxed. Too many runners avoid stretching. Running long distances is demanding for muscles so it’s
critical to avoid injuries and cramping by relieving tension and stress. Eat healthy, fresh foods, and lots of it. Gaining a couple of pounds during the taper is normal due to running less, this not a big deal. Just make sure you fuel your body properly and drink lots of water. Pastas, chicken, whole grains bread and rice, fruits and vegetables are all great choices. This will keep energy reserves topped up and ready to go.

Mentally this is a time you need to surround yourself with motivation and inspiration. Reflect on your running mantra, and positive self-talk. I suggest getting together with your running buddies to chat about plans and expectations you have. Talk about what your looking forward to and what challenges you. Talking to other runners is the best way to learn a few tricks to help you enjoy the running experience even more. Sharing advice, ideas and training stories is sure to keep you excited about the event. The taper is also a time to sit and think. Bring yourself back to the moment you made the decision to take part in this great challenge. Think about all the long runs, the many intervals, and hills you have done. Count up your mileage, look at your worn out shoes, bruised toenails, and blisters. Isn’t it a great feeling knowing you put all your effort into something? Soak it all in and enjoy the challenge, you deserve it.

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