10 Marathon Taper Tips You Can't Forget

Double-Check Your Disaster Preparedness

Someone famous once said, "Everyone has a plan...until they are punched in the face." While I don't want you to get stuck comparing your upcoming race to a boxing match, I do want you to consider that your plan is only as good as your ability to execute the plan.

All day long the race, the weather, the distance, the other runners...they will all conspire to introduce the unexpected into your day:

  • A sudden rain squall.
  • The runner who stops abruptly in front of you.
  • The aid station with no more ice.
  • The road that suddenly turns into cobblestones.
  • The shoelace that snaps.
  • The shorts that suddenly chafe.
  • The stomach that suddenly shuts down.
  • The cramp that takes away your breath.

All of these are challenges to overcome. You can rise to meet them and make them part of your story, or you can allow them to dictate your day. The best way to handle them is to be ready, to formulate a plan of attack: If "X" should happen, I will do "Y." Use part of your pre-race mental review process to identify and solve these issues. You might not get them all right on race day, but having a few solutions ready to go will make you more confident.

More: Is Your GPS Watch Accurate?

Plan Your Last 24 Hours of Pre-Race Food

Personally, the most stressful part of any race that involves travel is sorting out what I will eat over the final 24 hours. I want quality foods, on my timeline, and I don't really want to wait in a long line to get them.

Yes, I sound like a diva, but I speak from experience that having six months of training wiped out by a spicy meat sauce from the day before isn't just heartburn, it's heartbreak.

Identify local places to have breakfast, lunch and dinner, and definitely consider a reservation for dinner. Research your lodging to see if they offer an early morning breakfast for the race (including coffee!) or if you need to have something ready to go. Is there a microwave? A small fridge?

Knowing these answers will help you do the right shopping and will really set your mind at ease before the big day.

More: How to Create Your Marathon Nutrition Plan

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