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Marathon Taper Advice–Those Last Few Days

Speaking of the importance of comments…. I wanted to share with you all a few bits of advice that I left on #mamasalt’s blog on Thursday. Our dear Salt is running her first marathon on Sunday; we all know that she, like any one else nights before their big race, is living rife with anticipation, phantom pains, and starting to build that adrenaline.

Pre Marathon Nerves (no joke--morning of MCM)

Pre Marathon Nerves (no joke–morning of MCM)

The last few days before one’s first marathon/half marathon/5k/goal race are, in my mine, among the top tests of the entirety of one’s training: how you handle the thoughts racing through your mind will play a huge role in how your legs race over the ground on race day. In those last few days, you question everything about your past, your present, your future: did you do enough training (past), are your resting/hydrating/fueling/stretching enough or too much (present), and what if it rains? What if you drink/eat too much beforehand? What if your stomach goes? What if your IT band/plantar fasciitis/calf acts up? (future).

calm down

Oh, my friends, I know all to well what you are dealing with. If you recall from my MCM recap, I mentioned that I had a hell of a time in the month and a half leading up to my marathon, after an otherwise picture perfect training. I didn’t know if I would make it to mile 10, much less 26.2. That morning, I felt physically ill with nerves. But then I ran. And it was an experience that changed my life.

I am not guaranteeing that everyone’s marathon/race will go perfectly. Believe me, I saw people in tears, people being attended by medics. I saw disappointment. But I also saw (and I personally felt) elation. The risk is worth the potential reward.

medal4

In the comments of Mama Salt’s post, she asked for any last advice. Here is what I had to say:

I’m so proud of you. I know people say things like this all the time, but the marathon itself is just a victory lap. The training is the hardest part–you have to go after it, week after week, deal with injuries, put in the time, the training, the $$. All for several hours on one particular day when you might get a side stitch and ruin everything. So, no matter what happens, be so freaking proud of yourself. Now and in a few days. All that will change is that you get a medal and some pictures. But you are already a marathoner.
10 pieces of advice:

  1. TRUST YOUR TRAINING
  2. TRUST YOUR INTUITION
  3. Go with your gut–literally. Eat/drink etc what you know works.
  4. Ask questions. Everyone knows what it is like before your first marathon. But unlike the other type of virginity, people are willing to talk openly about marathoning in front of children.
  5. Run without music for as long as possible and soak it all up.
  6. Start off slower than you think you need to. This first marathon is about finishing. And with style
  7. Body Glide. EVERYWHERE. Feet, bra straps, underwear, compression sock tops. Where the tongue of your shoe is (trust me). And Sunscreen and bug spray. And take bandaids and kleenex with you.
  8. Hydrate like crazy the day before, have a big water the morning of, then lay off.
  9. Don’t freak out if things go wrong. It’s not a crisis. It is a problem. You’re a mom. SOLVE IT.
  10. CALL SUZ IF YOU NEED ANYTHING.

Finish with a #mamasalt bath 😀 Love you and don’t worry, you got this.

I share this with all of you. And if you are not a mom, well then substitute “you’re a big girl.”

couch cat

Good luck to all of my past/present/future friends racing this weekend or in the weeks to come. Take this advice to heart and know that you are a champion. You don’t need a medal to prove it, though it is nice. You have done more than many could ever fathom.

Any other pieces of advice to add to help people get through those last few days?

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