The taper is the time to recover and get your body ready for the race. However, you have been used to running significant miles every week training for the full or half marathon and eating whatever you want. With the decrease of mileage, you do not want to add additional weight a week before the race. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your weight and keep your energy right up to race day:
Remember your nutrients
It is great to eat your rice, pasta and potatoes but you also need to get your colorful foods in too. Do not avoid fruits and vegetables during your taper. You need the immune-boosting phytonutrients to protect your body for what it will go through during a marathon. When your mileage drops and hunger strikes, you will need the fiber of fruits and vegetables to keep you full and keep your weight stable.
Watch out for empty calories
Endurance athletes are known to have diets riddled with empty calories and mindless eating. When you taper, it is not good to continue this pattern. Think twice before mindless snacking on late-night chips or the extra scoop of ice cream. While you need to carb-load, it is not an all week event – pace yourself through the week and snack on healthy options.
Don’t forget the protein
To meet your nutrient needs, remember to consume protein days leading up to race day. Runners need to stock up on glycogen, but do not neglect that protein can play a huge role in your performance and satiety. Adding some lean chicken breast to a small serving of pasta can help you by not overloading on carbs. Even doing a whey protein smoothie can help curb the pasta frenzy. Protein is essential in building and repairing muscles so they are strong on race day.
Having a meal plan during the taper can put the icing on a great training season and get you ready for the start line.