Congratulations runners! You've made it through another sweltering summer of training for a fall race and now you've arrived at the last challenge - the taper. Yes, you put in all the good work but these last few weeks are critical to showing up on race day at your best.
So here are some key Do's and Don'ts for your taper.
DO Prioritize your sleep and health. It doesn't matter if you spend all day alternating back and forth between compression boots and a cryo chamber, getting at least 8 hours of sleep (if not more) is the foundation of your recovery plan.
DON'T Try to cram in any last minute workouts. You're not going to get any fitter in these last few weeks but you can definitely lose it on an overtraining injury. There's no "magic final track work" that's going to make or break your race.
DO Mentally plan your race. When I'm on my easy runs, I love mentally navigating how I want to run on race day. My plan for pacing, when I'm fueling, how I want to tackle the challenging parts of the course. By the time you show up to the starting line, you've already ran the race a hundred times in your mind and all you have to do is stick to the plan.
DON'T overcommit on race week. Its not the time to go to your co-worker's party down in Red Hook, hit up an art gallery on LES and see a concert at Terminal 5. Use the time you'd normally be going out to relax at home. I always buy a new book and a video game during the taper so I have a great reason to sit down as much as I can.
And DO try to find some joy, especially the last week. Going into a race a little nervous is totally okay, but being stressed out and not having fun is missing the point. Remember why you signed up in the first place and what the race means to you.
GOOD LUCK AND G*DSPEED!