What are we sharing this week with Elites?

If you are running SPBM this Sunday 13th October, you will share something in common this week with some of the greatest athletes of modern day sports. It is the tapering week.

For endurance sports enthusiast the coming weekend of October 12-13 is packed with lots of action. Perhaps, the busiest sporting weekend of the year. Ironman world championship is on October 12. The course at Kona, Hawaii is one of the most gruelling and competitive fields. Athletes to watch out are Jan Frodeno, Patrick Lange, Sebastian Kienle, Daniela Ryf and Lucy Charles. That’s not it. On the same day, the world will witness perhaps one of the most historic moments of modern sports era when Eliud Kipchoge will attempt to run a full marathon under 1:59 hrs. Tune into this link on Saturday, October 12th to witness Eliud Kipchoge make history. This surely will give you that extra motivation for next day :).

Then on October 13th we have Chicago Marathon. Sir Mo Farah is back to defend his title.

Tapering

Now what more does an amateur runner want for motivation getting into the last week before the race.

Let’s call this week the unofficial tapering week of the year :) When all these athletes are folding up their long training season, what should you be doing if you are running SPBM this weekend? I call it the C-R-N-M technique.

C : Closure to your training 99% of your training is done. Building mileage now won’t bring any benefit but may harm instead. The last week of training is to give a finishing touch and build a mental muscle to your race day. You have to taper down on your distance and intensity. Here is a indicative schedule, I recommend:

  • Tuesday - Throw in burst of quick 400m repeats. You can do 8-12 of them depending on the distance you are racing i.e HM or FM.
  • Thursday - Small 5-7k to tune-up your body to the race. This can be your tempo or race pace.

Remaining days you could just walk/jog for 3-5k depending on your comfort and how fresh your legs feel. It’s totally alright to have complete rest days too. Note: If you haven’t been following a structured training plan then it’s recommended that you take the last week easy with mild movement on legs. Resist your temptation to try any new exercise or workout this week especially gym or strength routine. Many amateur runners do this mistake and invite a sudden injury.

R : Rest Your body would have gone through quite a lot of pounding in last few weeks. Give rest equal importance just like your training. Your legs should feel super fresh at the start line. I know most of us have full-time jobs juggling between a 9-6 work schedule. As much as possible, avoid staying on the feet for longer duration. Any unusual stress may just add to the fatigue. Be particular about your sleep quality (minimum of 7-8 hrs). This may mean asking your colleagues a favour to proxy you in for the late evening calls :). Keep the legs in a lifted position at home. This is also a good stretch and helps to recover quickly.

N : Nutrition Just like training, no new nutrition is really going to amplify your performance in the last week. So, just keep it simple. What’s simple? No fancy new eating. Simple home cooked regular food is the best. Avoid outside eating especially oily, fried food items. ABC( Apple- Beetroot -Carrot) is the most common intake amongst runners before the race week. Remember taking this now won’t make you run fast. But if you are used to having this as part of your regular diet, a blend of this as a smoothie is good as breakfast at least 5 days earlier Best have it as a salad. Avoid the temptation to try new nutrition hacks or anything uncommon to your digestive system.

M: Mental. “Mental fitness plays a big role during competition. If you don’t rule your mind, your mind will rule you. That’s the way I think about this sport.” said Eliud Kipchoge. Most successful and accomplished athletes have always emphasized on the importance of positive thinking. Do not get intimidated by what others may be doing. Stay away from any kind of distraction. This could be on social network or fellow runners in your Whatsapp group. We all are part of one :) Try to avoid any new activity at work or personal life that seeds any form of stress to you. Want to learn how the greatest marathoner of our generation keeps himself in a positive mode. Watch this

This is another great insight on how elite athletes think before an event

On race day:

  • Do not wear any new gear (shorts, tees) or shoes.
  • If you are aiming for a strong finish time. Try to be amongst the front wave of runners at the start line. You can save few mins here else it would be a challenge to find your way for initial 500-700m.
  • Do not drop your pace and go fast early now. Your legs will be fresh and you may feel the temptation to go fast. It’s not about how fast you start but how strong you finish.
  • Visualize the route map and plan your pace as per the elevation splits. You will also have quite a few turns during the race. Execute your pace strategy accordingly. Please read our post on SPBM race route.
  • Stick to your water intake plan and don’t miss the hydration support points. Hydrate well. It’s too late if you feel thirsty.
  • During the last 2-3 km, you may feel very tired and want to stop. At this juncture, your goal should only be to overtake every runner ahead of you.
  • Cheer runners around you and motivate them to keep up as you pass them.
  • Maintain your running form as you approach the finish line. Most pictures are taken here and you want to look good. Right :)

I thank my coach Kothandapani K.C for inculcating these thoughts in me. Everyone has their own reasons to race. All the best to you to accomplish your reasons. Wish you all a strong finish!

Remember, the real hardwork is the training. The Race is a celebration of your training.


Dilip

Dilip Kumar is a seasoned marathoner. He is the co-founder of [Imstrong] (http://imstrong.co), an innovative fitness startup.

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