The week leading up to any race, you want to cut down the time you train. Obvious, right?
You want those legs fresh and a tank of glycogen that you can dive into during the race. But other than removing a long run or heavy brick workout (thank you baby Jesus) from your weekly routine, you can also capitalize on gains from more sleep, consistent eating, and reducing your stress levels.
Reducing Your Training
Although this concept is fairly easy, some of us have a tendency to overthink it (myself included). General rule, don’t fatigue yourself the week before. I keep my workouts short and sweet, eliminating any long rides and runs. Everyone is different- long distance runs are the hardest workouts for my body to recover from, so I don’t do anything over 3.5 miles. I’d also recommend getting some foam rolling and stretching in during that time period. The day before, I do some light cardio- walking, riding a bike, etc.
Catching Those Z's
All athletes should recognize that sleep plays a huge roll in performance. The night before is tough, because those race nerves start buzzing and you can’t help thinking about that 4am alarm and you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this again” and on and on. So, if you can get a solid 8-10 hours of sleep the nights before race eve, you will be golden.
If you’re doing a triathlon, you can’t help thinking about what you’re going to eat the night before, and what you’re going to eat after. Both instances give you a solid reason to partake in those heavenly carbs. There are good and bad- so save the cheese cake for after the race. BUT what a lot of people don’t consider is the week leading up to the big day. It’s really important to stay consistent with your eating habits. I’d stay away from the raw fish- No one wants to wake up with food poisoning the day before the race- and the sugar. Same thing for the morning of! Don’t eat something your body isn’t used to- gels and sups should be tested out before race day, just to make sure there are no surprises. You didn’t pay $150 to sit in a porta-potty all morning.
Take it Easy
Every time someone tells me “don’t stress” it basically doubles my stress level. On that note, stress is something we can’t avoid completely, but we can find ways to eliminate or reduce those stressors. I try to confine myself to my apartment, since the city commute totally gets on my nerves. I also try to limited my social interactions, so that I’m not pressured into drinking, eating out, or staying out late. Basically, be super lame and boring so that you can save all of that energy for game day.
I'd love to hear about your tips and tricks for taper week!
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