If you’re running Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah in just a couple of weeks (you got this, FYI!), your long(est) runs are done and over. Sure, you still have a few that are longer than your garden-variety training jaunts, but most of the hard work is now completed and it’s time to let your body (and mind) rest and relax; if you toe the line on race day with an overly-taxed body, you’re liable to get injured and you’ll certainly regret that decision, from a finishing time standpoint. There is being ready and there is being unbending (and believe me when I tell you that it’s no fun tapering, but that is one of the many moving parts that combine to form the master plan).
If you feel dinged up, take an extra day off; at this point, your fitness level is set and you’re likely going to do more harm than good if you continue rigorously training without listening to your body. You should line up with some butterflies in your stomach (they help to get the competitive juices flowing), but also jonesing for a run; you should feel like you’re about to be shot out of a cannon, brimming with energy and anticipation, and sometimes taking an extra day off here and there can help you wrangle and aim that nervous excitement.
However, one thing not to be nervous about on race day: your race day strategy (so practice as you intend to race). If you plan to use a handheld water bottle, or use GUs, or wear a certain shoe or shirt…well, race day is not the occasion to try those items for the very first time. Some nutrition may not sit well on your stomach, so now is the time to identify what does and doesn’t work for you (this goes for meals, too; the night before and morning of the race, eat what has always worked for you, not what you’ve heard works best for others). Some equipment will work, and some won’t; don’t start chafing 12 miles in to a 26.2 mile run, and don’t realize your shoes are two sizes too big 1 mile in. Break in your gear, ready your tummy, and know where to lube up (if you must); “right now” is the perfect time, not “I’ll get around to it”.
After all the blood, sweat and tears you’ve poured out of yourself and into this race (especially during the summer—yuck!), now is not the time to leave anything to chance. Get your runs in (if you’re feeling good), listen to your body (unless it’s being a slave-driver), and let the tapering commence; it’s time to let the hard work pay off!
- Chris Ramsey