Last week, Dimity and I had the rare opportunity to sit down and talk in person about our goals and plans for all facets of Another Mother Runner. We decided to change things up a bit on the website, including adding a regular feature every Tuesday that is part service, part personal. Given that I love alliteration, I suggested we name it Tell Me Tuesday. Welcome to the first one. Please let us know what you think of the idea of giving some targeted enlightenment once a week.
How’s this for an analogy: October is to races what June is to weddings. I don’t have any stats to back up my assertion, but it seems to me pretty much every mother runner has a competitive endeavor coming up. Thus I figured it was time to dispense five bits of advice about the one- or two-week period leading up to a start line.
-Limit your activity. We probably all know a racer-to-be dials back the miles she runs, but I’m big on cutting back on other activity, as well. This can mean anything from avoiding things that require you to stand or walk a lot (yes, Julie D., I’m talking about that trip to Disneyland you took before 2010 Portland Marathon!) to skipping book group if you’re feeling tuckered out. It may seem indulgent or even egocentric, but you’ve worked hard for months to reach the start line in your best shape possible.
-Find positive outlets for your extra energy. You’ll probably feel amped up or jittery because you aren’t running as much as you have been. You need to resist the urge to tack on “just two more miles” or “a few more intervals.” Instead, plop down at the kitchen table with your kidlets and sculpt some runners out of Play-Dough. Or sit in front of your sewing machine and work on your child’s Halloween costume. (Note that both these activities involve sitting.)
-Drink up. Being well hydrated during the race doesn’t just mean chug-a-lugging the morning of. It means drinking enough in the days leading up to the race so that your urine is nearly clear. In addition, eat slightly saltier foods than you normally do. Pass the pretzels, please. (But avoid drinking much alcohol: It can limit your body’s ability to store glycogen, the all-important race-day fuel in your muscles.)
-Snooze. You don’t need to sleep extra, but aim to get in eight hours of shut-eye. (Now, how to get your kids to let you do this…)
-Review the course map, and visualize success. Worried about that hill at Mile 4? Close your eyes and replay the hill training you did. (You did some, right?!) Feeling daunted by going, gulp, 26.2 miles? Mentally revisit your 20-mile training run(s). When I was hunkering down for my fifth marathon, I funneled my extra energy into making a vision board. It helped me channel my dreams and goals for the race, and I stared at it as I ate my pre-marathon breakfast. I don’t think it’s a coincidence I ended up setting my personal record in that race.
What things have worked well--or not so well--for your previous or current taper? Your turn to tell us.