With less than two weeks to go all your key training sessions have been done and its time to give the body a chance to recover and freshen up for the race. Here Andy Dubois from Mile 27 provides us his 10 tips for putting the finishing touches on your race prep for The Buffalo Stampede.
Whilst a taper is a very individual thing there are some key principles to keep in mind.
- Reduce volume significantly
In the last 2 weeks I recommend nothing over 90 minutes as a general rule and in the least 6 days nothing over 60 minutes, tapering down to 15-30 minutes a day or two before the race.
- Maintain intensity
Some high intensity sessions can still be of benefit for your race. The key is to keep the volume of the sessions low so the overall fatigue levels are low. So for example if you have been doing 8km in a speed session then drop that down to 2-4km but keep the intensity up. If you have been doing 30+ minutes of hill repeats then drop that down to less than 15 minutes of hard uphill efforts. Make sure all of the efforts are controlled and with good form. Now is not the time to be trying to break Strava segments and having sprint finishes. Keep all sessions fast but in control and finish with plenty left in the tank
- Avoid fast downhill
Downhill loads legs more and takes longer to recover form so make sure all down hills in the last 2 weeks are run easily to minimise load on legs before the race
- Reducing frequency vs Reducing volume
Some people prefer to stick to their normal run pattern and simply reduce the volume of every session – others like to give themselves a few more days off. Both approaches are valid and purely depends on the individual. If after a few days off you typically feel sluggish for a day or two then keep the frequency, if you feel really fresh after a few days off then reduce running frequency.
- The pre-race run
Some people like to do a short 15-minute run the day before the race, others have the day off. I believe if you have spent a lot of time travelling to a race and arriving only a day or two before hand then it’s a good idea to stretch the legs out a little. If not then it’s a personal decision.
There is no need to binge eat carbs the days before the race. If you continue eating your normal training diet you will top your glycogen stores up anyway. If you are on a low carb diet then best to include some higher carbs 2 days before the race to top them up.
- Mental relaxation
One area many forget is making sure the mind is as fresh as the legs. Often we are rushed to finish work in the days before a race and end up having a very busy week of work. Do all you can to avoid this. Being mentally fresh makes a big difference in the later stages in the race when you need to call upon those mental reserves to keep going.
Simply make sure you aren’t dehydrated on race morning. Anything more than that and you’ll just urinate more often.
- Gear and Nutrition
Make sure you have all your race gear and nutrition organised and packed early in race week so its one thing less you have to stress about in the final days.
Try and get as much of this as possible in race week but don’t stress if the night before the race you struggle, one night of restlessness wont affect your race if you have had a god week of 8+ hours sleep
For more info or to contact Andy, visit www.mile27.com.au