You know you’re talking to a serious runner when they tell you they hate the idea of sleeping in and slowing down.But that’s what Mark Knutson, the executive director of the Fargo Marathon, tells new runners Erin Mayer and Josh Thomas in this week’s “Getting in Gear” video.
With less than two weeks to go, runners like Mayer and Thomas should be in their taper phase – a time when they scale back training in preparation for the race. The taper is designed to rest the body and help it perform at its peak on race day.
Knutson says most runners will max out on training miles run about two to three weeks before the race, then follow it with a moderate week of activity – running but shorter distances than the runner is used to. It might feel like you could do more, but Knutson says don’t.
“It’s not uncommon for runners to feel really sluggish on taper week,” Knutson says.That’s why he’s not a fan of taper week.
The reason is simple. For months as you train, your appetite is growing to keep up with the demand for fuel. But as you taper in this week or two before the race, your appetite hasn’t yet gotten the message to slow down. So you’ll be eating more and moving less. Knutson says temper that by trying to eat plenty of protein, complex carbs and greens. Pasta is fine, but avoid cream sauces, he says.
He says it’s also important to hydrate throughout the week.
“Drink that Powerade on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before a Saturday race,” Knutson says. Don’t drink quite as much on Friday. He says it is possible to over-hydrate yourself leading up to a race.
He says it’s important for runners not to overthink it, but to just stay focused and try to relax.
Next week, Mark goes through everything you need to know about race day from parking to Porta Potties.