Theodora Blanchfield: Taming the Taper Crazies

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You’ve put in months of training, and race day is fast approaching.

Your pre-race anxiety is at an all-time high and the one thing you want to do — running — is the one thing you need to cut back on. How is this even fair?

Here’s how to cope with the crazies from someone who’s been there, done that:

Sleep. You’ve just subjected your body to hundreds of miles of training, and you’re about to introduce it to a 26.2-mile adventure. It needs to recover and rest up for the race, and the best way to do so is catching those zzz’s. You may have a to-do list a mile long — especially if it’s an out-of-town race — but prioritize your rest the best you can.

Go dry. I love my wine as much as I love running. (I run 26.2 “for fun”, so that says something about how much I love my wine.) But as much as the wine will calm those last-minute nerves, it’s also crucial to treat your body as well as possible and that involves cutting back on the alcohol. Think how much sweeter that post-race wine or beer will taste.

Catch up with Friends. You know, your non-runner ones. Call them, meet for coffee or go see a movie. Less running means more time to catch up with the other important people and things in your life.

Treat your feet. No, not a pedicure — it will just get ruined anyway! Comfortable shoes are crucial in this last week or weeks. The last thing you want is to start your trek off with blisters. Trust me, I learned this the hard way wearing a pair of new shoes two days before the New York City Marathon two years ago. And women — avoid heels if you can. You don’t want that extra strain on your calves. If you have compression socks, wear them.

Shake it out. I’m a firm believer in the shakeout run the day before a marathon. A good two to four-miler is all it takes for me to loosen my legs and get jazzed mentally. Plus, the energy of the other runners is electric.

Visualize it. Yeah, it sounds a little hippy-dippy, but imagine yourself running a successful race. What does that look like to you? How will you ensure you feel strong starting the race? What will you do when you cross the finish line? Thumbs-up or hands in the air?