Taper me out

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In case you haven’t heard, we are running 31 miles this Sunday – in a little ultra marathon known as Canalathon.

Tapering time has therefore descended on the Kings and Greens ultra team and this period has been one of the hardest of the lot for us. In theory it sounds so great – eat what you like, run two miles at a time, sit around a lot. All activities we are huge fans of but as this is my third experience of tapering for a big race I can confirm the tapering life is not the one for me.

WALK

Just… walking

Instead of basking in the carte blanche atmosphere and soaking up the suddenly freed up weekend times we have both felt heavier than usual and unfit. Both relative we realise but it’s an odd feeling to go from punishing 20 milers and riding out the rest of your Saturday on the crest of the calorie deficit, enjoying well earned cakes and box set marathons, to not doing much at all yet eating huge amounts nevertheless.

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We both understand that each part of training for a big race is as important as the next, but regardless of this we wanted to share our thoughts in the hope someone else out there has felt the same. It makes us ever more nervous for Sunday’s big race, feeling like the long training runs are a distant memory and the extra carbs will see us waddling along uncomfortably.

aaaa

A modest 8 miler

For the most part, we have stuck to eating larger portions of the healthy food we normally eat to see us through hungry training weeks and it’s only at weekends we treat ourselves to cake, pizza or wine (our personal vices).

POT

A baked sweet potato the size of my head at the Lamppost Café in Hebden Bridge – carbloading heaven (and the most dog-friendly place I’ve ever been)

Now, all that’s left to do is assemble our kit, eat some pasta and endure a probably sleepless night panicking about all those race day what ifs ahead of the big day.

We aren’t aiming for any particular time, we’ll be happy if we finish it and if we don’t come last that will be an enormous bonus. One especially delirious 16 mile training run saw us collapse in uncontrollable fits of laughter (aka ‘stagging’ in K&G lingo) circa 10 miles in at the very real prospect of telling everyone afterwards we actually did claim bottom place.

STAG

Stagging in fancy pants

I was adamant most people would be impressed we had simply done it and we could skirt over the dubious honour of being last ones home but who knows? I guess we may find out come Sunday!

What are your race day preparations? We would love to know how you keep yourself calm, what you eat for breakfast, any other tips you have? I read a great (and really funny) list of alternative race day tips before my first ever ultra from a running writer called Rhalou Allerhand – find them here. I actually did the rubber band one and it helped!

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For breakfast we will be tucking into (incidentally my favourite food) a huge bowl of porridge with a few extras thrown in like almond butter, banana and some hemp powder for extra protein, washed down with a huge hot water and lemon to – ahem – get things moving along. There may be a spirulina green smoothie in the mix too to really get the energy party started.

BREKKIE

The race sets off at 8.30am from Manchester city centre so it will be an early start – hopefully this gives us a fighting chance of crossing the finish line in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, before nightfall… The weather is looking pretty good so we have no excuses left (luckily our expensive Montane waterproofs pack up small).

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Wish us luck…

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4 thoughts on “Taper me out

  1. Hmmm, tapering, a logistical and emotional nightmare. Get it right and you arrive on the start line feeling fresh and motivated and ready to fly, get it wrong and… well I don’t want to depress you before Sunday. Low impact aerobic exercise – swimming for example – is a good way to keep yourself feeling good without knackering yourself. Just keep active, don’t drop into lethargy. Easier than it sounds I know!
    Rather than one big pre-race meal, I prefer to go with small high-carb meals. So the night before a bowl of muesli (after the bowl of pasta), then in the morning I’ll set the alarm for 4am and eat a portion of rice pudding (left next to my bed). Two-three hours later the bowl of porridge with some sweet tea, then 40 mins before race start a banana. I find that approach is easier for digestion, doesn’t overload the body and keeps you feeling light for those fits few miles of the race. And lots of water.
    Good luck on Sunday, you’ll ace it x

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    • Great advice, thank you! Although I am a huge fan of total lethargy I am keeping reasonably active (the dog helps) but swimming is a good shout. Hope your training is going well! A x

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