Next Sunday, October 3, is the 13.1 Half Marathon in Atlanta! So it's officially tapering time! Tapering time is always bittersweet for me. I'm ready to slow down and rest, but once a few days into it I feel like a slug and need to exercise more. Rest is important, especially before a race. Everyone is different, so how people taper is personalized. You know your body better than anyone else; therefore, the amount of rest you need is to be determined by you. I know there are plans/suggestions out there that state how much you need to rest and what activities are best during Taper Week, but I honestly think each person can determine that for themselves. Some people may need more rest than others, while some may not need any rest. I've noticed that for each race I've ran I have trained and tapered differently. Honestly, I can't tell you if one technique is better than other. I based it off how I was feeling and my goals. This race I have set a new PR Goal for myself of 1:30. I need to shave roughly 18 minutes off my last half enable to reach my goal. This time around I have trained harder during my weekly runs than I have in the past. I have added more hills, weight lifting, and some sprints. Hopefully, it will pay off. I know I will be happy with any time under my last race time.... A few taper tips to remember:
- Rest- Obviously. If you're like me and insist on still running and lifting weights, just take it easy. Cut your runs shorter than what you would normally run and maybe even slow the pace down a little. If lifting weights, lift lighter than you normally do. This way you are still exercising, but taking it easy. Taking it easy will allow your muscles to still rest and not reach fatigue, so when race day comes you are still fresh.
- Fall into that sedentary lifestyle the day before the race! Well, not completely... leave out the nachos! Take it easy with no exercise and as little walking as possible. Just seriously relax and clear your mind.
- Stay hydrated throughout the week! This is the time to really be serious about hydration. Remember it takes a couple of days for water to reach the cellular level. Meaning, you need to drink plenty of water throughout the week to ensure your muscles and cells are fully hydrated. Last thing you want is to cramp during the race after all your hard training.
- Stretch! This one is hard for most people, including me. Stretch those muscles throughout the day to release any tightness or possible cramping. For me, my calves are always tight. I don't stretch them as much as I need to and I am working on stretching them more. Try to get up and walk around after a few hours of sitting to help keep the blood flowing. While walking around, stretch your muscles. Also, when at home just sitting around is the perfect time to stretch. I promise it will help keep you lose and focused on race day. It's also very relaxing :-)
- Think about your pace and envision yourself running on race day. If you believe you can do something, you can! You've been training for this day and your body is capable of handling the distance, now it's just mental. Stay positive before and during the race!
- Most of all: HAVE FUN!
- Grab a light weight. Don't over do it.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees.
- Bend forward keep your chest up, back straight, and glutes out. It may feel unnatural at first, but it takes the stress off your back.
- Arms start straight down with palms facing each other.
- Keeping your arms straight raise them out to the side of your body as far up as you can.
You will feel it in your upper back and some in your shoulders.
- Repeat: 10-15 reps, 3-5 sets
Training Songs: As you know, I'm a music junkie and always looking for new song and even bring back oldies. One of the best apps I have on my
1. Wait (The Whisper Song) - Ying Yang Twins
2. My Humps- Black Eyed Peas
3. Soldier- Destiny's Child
4. 1, 2 Step- Ciara/ Missy Elliott
5. Get Back- Ludacris
6. Over and Over- Nelly ft. Tim McGraw
7. Drop It Like It's Hot- Snoop Dogg
8. Sugar- Trick Daddy ft. Ludacris and Cee-Lo
9. Switch- Will Smith
10. Don't Cha- Pussycat Dolls ft. Busta Rhymes
Training Lagniappe: Team Bergeron- Mardi Gras Half Marathon- February 13, 2011- NOLA. Be there or be square! You won't miss us obnoxious Bergerons... That's right, we're making shirts... BRIGHT YELLOW SHIRTS! :-)
Jayme Bergeron, BS
ACSM Health Fitness Specialist