Taper madness, taper tantrums or pre-race jitters—whatever you call it, it's that feeling of anxiety that wells up from within as race day approaches, putting your nerves on edge and leaving your patience short. You're supposed to be running fewer miles and letting your body rest, but you feel ready to jump out of your skin. For the sake of both yourself and the people around you, consider taking the following precautions to curb the pre-competitive crazies.
Fill Free Time
Perhaps the hardest part of reducing mileage for your taper is the impulse to cram in more training before the big day. Since you'll be training less, it is important to fill that time with other activities so you don't go stir crazy. If you've been training for a long race, you've probably had to put other priorities on the back burner and now is the time to divert some of that energy towards the things that you may have neglected in favor of running.
Schedule outings with friends and family, catch up on reading, or tackle a home project you've been meaning to complete. While you want to take this time to rest your body and mind, staying somewhat busy can help keep your race anxiety from consuming you.
Establish a Pre-Race Routine
There are many things you can't control when it comes to race day: the weather, course route and your competitors are just a few of those factors. That is why it is particularly important to control what you can. Coming up with a well-practiced pre-race routine is one of the easiest ways to eliminate question marks on race day.
To be rehearsed before certain training runs prior to the race, you should test everything—from your morning breakfast to race-day apparel. By doing a few dry runs, you'll work out any kinks and be confident going into race day. While there are plenty of things to be nervous about in the days leading up to a race, a predictable race-day routine will go a long way in keeping you calm, cool and collected.