This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
Over the coming weeks, I’m going to focus my Thursday posts on the Seattle Marathoners I’m coaching and who simply want to follow along to get some helpful tips as they go through the final preparations for their big day. The marathon and half marathon are on November 30th, the 5K is on November 29th. Here, I’ll primarily be discussing the marathon but my suggestions for the half marathoners would be nearly identical and I think even the 5K runners can gain from it. In addition, I think these posts will have useful tips for anyone to reference back to as they go through the final weeks before their goal races.
So we’re 24 days out. Some of you are just about to start your taper. Some of you may extend the training another week and be just over a week from starting your taper. Either way, you’re working through the final, most intensive stages of your training. You’re probably tired right now. And you likely have your longest run (or are again running your longest distance) this weekend or next. This is going to be tough, isn’t it? The correct answer is an emphatic YES. And that’s just how it should be. You’re preparing to run a marathon. That’s a tough thing to do. Consider this coming long run your dry run.
What do I mean by your dry run? I mean treat it like your marathon. If the conditions allow, wear what you plan to wear on race day. At least go with the shoes and socks you plan to wear on race day. Practice your fueling plan, both pre-race meals and in-race fueling. If you have the training background to handle it, consider running at least a little at goal pace late in the run. If possible, even consider running a route with a similar elevation profile. For Seattle, this means moderately hilly early and late with some flat miles in the middle.
What else should you be thinking about this week? Take care of yourself right now. You have a big long run coming up and you’re starting it tired. This is good training but it’s also stressful on your body. If you have a foam roller, The Stick or other similar tool, use it. Do the best you can to make sure you’re getting good sleep. Make sure you’re eating well and drinking plenty of fluids. These things will help you get through this physically demanding period and set you up for a successful taper and race day.
You’re working hard right now and feeling tired. Keep in mind that the taper is near. Push through this phase, take care of the details to make sure you’re ready to execute the plan on race day, then you’ll get a break.