Monday, May 18, 2009

Tapering Strategy

A lot of people ask me how I prepare for a race. They are often curious to see what I need to eat and how I adjust my training close to an event. The professional term for this is tapering. Tapering can be defined as reducing exercise prior to an important performance.

My tapering strategy usually consists of turning into a lazy bum for a week or two. This year will be a bit different. I will be keeping my swimming routine and avoiding all cycling and running except for a run to loosen me up some time midweek depending on weather and schedule. I do not think the swimming can really affect my running performance and I like the outlet it gives me for spending some energy and getting my muscles relaxed. Cycling will be avoided because I think it played a major part in my knee problems and I want to make sure I am in optimal shape for the race. I will also pay extra attention to my stretching.

As far as nutrition goes, I have to take care not to eat too much cause I do not want to enter the race overweight :) While there is not really a risk of that, my daily appetite is for 3000-4000 calories will see a surplus at the end of the day when I am not running or biking to burn all that energy. At the same time, I also have to make sure that I stock up on essential nutriments such as iron and potassium. So my diet will be aimed at lots of vegetables and red meat. Yeah, bring on the burgers and spinach salads! I also need to hydrate myself well. I am not talking drinking beer and wine here, but rather lots of water and fruit juices. A friend recommended coconut water as a natural sports drink, I will give that a shot :)

So I want to enter the race fully hydrated and with my glycogen stores fully replenished. The last 36 hours are especially important for this. My usual way of telling is to drink until my pee is clear... My "last meal" consists of a big spaghetti dinner with lots and lots of special sauce. I usually also have some delicious chocolate ├ęclairs for desserts. The morning of, I usually like a small snack. A single toast with peanut butter and honey accompanied by a glass of chocolate soy milk usually does the trick.

I can't wait until the race. I hope the weather will be good.

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