You’ve been logging miles and training for months leading up to the big day to run 26.2 miles.
Long runs. Speed work. Maybe some strength training.
How are you feeling? A little nervous. A little excited. Probably both.
If you’re wondering what your training should look like in the final weeks before your marathon, you’re not alone.
But if you’re super nervous about going the distance on race day, working out your training plan to run 24-26 miles as your last long run is actually a great idea.
Try not to worry about your time, but instead go easy and run at least 20 miles.
Once you’ve banked that last long run, you’ll be better prepared for race day, physically and mentally.
Cutting back miles is a smart marathon tapering plan that will help you rest, recover from training, and get ready to go the distance.
That ever happen?
Sleep also helps restore/lower hormone levels, including cortisol linked to stress and inflammation.
Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for best health. If your work/life schedule makes that hard, marathon tapering is a good time to add more sleep to your schedule.
Need more sleep? What can you change to get more Zzzs leading up to race day?
If you’re not in the habit, set a reminder on your phone to drink a glass of water every hour. And drink water at every meal.
If you sweat a lot during training, or you’ll be running a marathon in hot weather, you’ll probably need to drink more than 64 ounces a day.
Fuel your run. In the last week before your marathon, you need to bank more carbs and sodium than you might usually eat.
Your body uses carbs for energy. But you can’t store an unlimited supply. It’s one reason the carbo-load is so popular before a marathon.
Enjoy some healthy carbs in the days before your marathon, including the night before. How much partly depends on your body type, but 200-400 grams of carbs per day leading up to a marathon works for most runners.
In a lot of cases, that’s the result of dehydration and low sodium levels.
You might feel fine at the start of a marathon. Maybe even tick off the first 13 miles feeling strong. But if you’re not well hydrated and sodium levels are depleted from sweating, performance starts to suffer during the later miles of a marathon.
Ever hit the wall?
You know...muscle soreness, stiffness, fatigue, maybe even stomach issues.
Low sodium levels and dehydration tend to be the primary cause.
Plan ahead. During your marathon tapering, eat a little more sodium than usual. Salt your food. Drink water + electrolytes. And you’ll show up to the starting line well hydrated and ready for great race.
During the two-week tapering period before your marathon, you might feel like you’ve suddenly got more time on your hands.
Spend a little bit of that time visualizing the perfect race. Walk yourself through every part of race day. Checking in. Getting to the starting line. Ticking off the miles running on pace with perfect form. And crossing the finish line based on your target.
Rehearsing this will help ease any pre-race nervousness, and help train your brain to go the distance.
If you’re not into visualizing, here’s another way to get your mind right during the marathon tapering phase...watch some great running movies.
Start marathon tapering about two weeks before race day and dial back the miles, sleep and rest, hydrate well, fuel your body, and get your mind right. When you step up to the starting line to run 26.2 miles, you’ll be glad you did.