My tapering week prior to Tour du Giffre - a time where I was working, eating, and race preparing. It was a busy race preparation time, seeing me board a plane less than 48 hours before I would be at the race start line. However, this is an important time before a running race, so I thought I would share my recent tapering experience with you.
It wasn't a massively long trail race, but it still required proper training and preparation in order to race well. These were the things I really considered prior to the race, and why it's important to relax and unwind before running.
Get enough sleep : I really tried to be more disciplined the week before the run. This can be hard - but being kind to your body through getting enough rest is really important. Even if it is only a matter of minutes - this all counts for essential rest. If it's possible to have a nap during the day (even if it is simply part of your morning commute!) I think it all helps. Be relaxed, be restful.
Don't obsess over mileage : some people can be afraid to taper. It does seem a little counter intuitive - you are about to run your fastest and perhaps your longest distance, and you are chilling out the week before and NOT clocking the miles. But your body knows what it is doing, and it needs to be ready. So be disciplined. Before this race, I rested, I cycled a little, I ran small distances, I did pilates.
Eat well - I love eating. I really love eating. It is not difficult for me to eat more the week before a race to fuel. I made sure I never felt hungry, I ate often and tried to make sure my diet included healthy foods and protein & carbohydrates such as salmon, and gnocchi. Drinking lots of water is always important, especially in the tapering week. This is something I could definitely keep improving upon. I also made my own smoothies with fresh fruit and natural yogurt as a dessert some evenings, which again helps boost calorie intake as well as having numerous health benefits. I also find making recovery drinks are good after exercise this week to support muscle repair.
Stretch regularly - Helps you to be ready. Muscle maintenance is always a good thing.
Thinking time - I fully chilled out on the plane journey over. I studied the race profile, I relaxed and admired the sky out of the window. On the Saturday I watched a film with one my best mates. I caught up with friends and spent some time with Thomas, Nikki's cat. I stretched. It's easy to sit there twiddling your thumbs before a race. Or being VERY concerned about it. I'm learning that with impending events, it is better to either focus on it positively, or don't focus on it at all. It will be ok.
Don't worry what other people's tapering looks like- Train to your own tune.