Are you one of the many people who thinks cooking up your own marathon taper is best left to the experts? Well, it’s oh so simple, and all you need are a few ingredients you probably already have in your house:
Running. Your mileage may vary (literally), but I doled out ~510 miles over 14 weeks.
Vitamin I. My taper recipe calls for a liberal dose of ibuprofen in the first few days, thanks to the shenanigans of week 14.
I was battling that head cold for most of the week, and my body definitely had a hard time bouncing back from the 20-miler at the end of week 13. Going into the 19-miler ending week 14, my legs were exhausted; and they weren’t helped by the hills, or my lack of stretching afterward, or the ~1 hour delay to refueling, or my avoidance of the foam roller all week. This left me crumpled on the couch for the next few days, but glad for the pain-lessening effects of modern pharmacology.
New kicks. You might think the new Sauconys in which you plan to run a marathon would need a long period of “seasoning.” But I like to buy mine <2 weeks before said marathon, when I’m barely running 15 miles per week, thus making things a little dicey re: proper breaking in.
Way too many running Internets. All that nervous energy needs an outlet when you aren’t running 6-7 days per week, so I make sure to include hours of internet searches like “how to carb load,” “prevent armpit chafing,” “marathon bonking,” and “WHY did I think this was a good idea?”
A few more calories than are really needed. The icing on my taper cake is usually an appetite that hasn’t clued into our decreased energy burn. A key taper ingredient is the rude awakening to the fact that I can’t just shovel chocolate peanut butter into my face anymore.
This all goes into the mix and simmers for two weeks. Just before serving, I’ll try to finish this off with 7-10 g of carbs per kg of body weight (that’s 430-610g for someone my size, or up to 2,400 calories of carbs) loaded in on the final day.
Then I’ve got a good 4 hours or so on marathon day to really savor the results of the taper. Bon appétit.