Taper Week Workouts And Race Day Essentials

 

I can’t help but think back to last year at this time as I prepare once again for this Sunday’s More/Fitness Women’s Half Marathon.

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You may remember that I had seriously and unexplainably injured my left shoulder exactly one week before last year’s race. I couldn’t lift my arm, didn’t sleep for nine days straight and experienced pain far worse than giving birth to my son.

Somehow I still managed to run the half last year and even pulled through with a PR for myself at that time.

I haven’t a clue how I did it. It wasn’t my legs that were injured so running with a half-working arm doesn’t sound so terrible but looking back, I find myself insane for having such a desire to run that race that nothing, not even nine nights without sleep was going to stop me.

Don’t get me wrong- training for a race, running and crossing the finish line is an amazing feeling. I am super excited for this Sunday as well as focused on my taper plan leading up to the big day but part of me feels that if I were in the same injured position, I wouldn’t care as much if I had to ditch the race day plan; there is always another opportunity to race or at least run 13.1 somewhere.

The morning of the race last year I did feel better, just not 100 percent. I didn’t follow my intended taper week plan yet somehow I ran a good race.

What is a good taper plan? How do you know what you are supposed to do? What are you supposed to eat and how often should you run and rest to ensure a terrific race?

The truth is, I don’t have an answer that will work for everyone. You can google “taper week plans” and will likely come across a variety of workout regimens, food combinations and all sorts of advice. And really, even with following a plan, eating the “right” foods and running a bit less, there are no guarantees to how you will perform on race day.

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The best advice I can give is tell you what I try to do in the days leading up to a race and perhaps some of my plan, if not all of it, can work for you too.

1. Reduce Mileage

I still run during the taper week but make sure to reduce my mileage and not run back-to-back days.

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Some people schedule their rest day for the day prior to a race but I have found that my legs stay looser and fresher by running a bit so I take the Friday off instead.

I don’t know the exact amount of miles I will run today or Thursday but I don’t think more than five (or six) each day. I intend to run most of those miles easy with maybe some short bursts of speed just so my legs remember what they are supposed to do on Sunday.

2. Hydrate and Eat Some Carbs

A huge positive I remember during my last half marathon was how NOT thirsty I was during the race.

A few days prior to a race, I make sure to drink extra water, as in, with every glass I finished I poured myself another one.

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Hydrating is not limiting to water. I strongly believe in the power of hydrating fruits.

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I don’t adjust the rest of my diet all that much. As a vegetarian, I kind of feel like my plate is always carb focused. That being said, I do ensure that my diet during the days leading up to the race includes bananas, potatoes, watermelon and this year, something tells me pizza.

More on what I will eat tomorrow and the rest of the week.

One thing I know for sure is that I won’t mess around with race day breakfast. Like they say, stick to what has worked for you in the past and never venture to try anything new.

I always go with oatmeal mixed with banana and a drop of peanut butter. I usually eat half when I wake up and the other half on the way to the race.

I never like to start out feeling hungry. Some people prefer to run on an empty stomach but I just can’t.

3. Race Day Essentials

I am typically super organized which I think automatically means I am a planner.

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The weather forecast so far is showing warm enough for me to wear my Lulu skirt and maybe long sleeves. I still need to decide.

I am currently working on adding some new songs to my playlist because I am suddenly tired of most of the songs I listen to each day.

Any suggestions for me? I am bored with the new songs on the radio and don’t want to feel the need to change the song while I am trying to run the race.

Posts from last year’s unforgettable race:

Race Weekend

Race Day

Race Recap

And from Runner’s World, a great article on tapering mistakes:

Do You Make These Four Tapering Mistakes?

 

Do you do anything specific to prepare for a race?

Favorite foods to eat before a race?

Have you ever run a race injured?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Run, Donuts, Red Mango and Whole Foods Food Bar Fun

 

I know you spent your weekend wondering if I found time to make the donuts.

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Oh…You bet I did. I actually squeezed in some baking time late Saturday afternoon before I went out for dinner. Sushi. Amazing. Sorry. No Pictures.

I really wasn’t in the mood to bake but I felt that the activity would keep me moving around a bit which is key after running 13.13 miles.

Let’s back up a bit to those miles:

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I was up bright and early Saturday morning for my long run. I bundled up in my layers and I am loving this Nike vest that I scored on sale for $31. As you can tell, my eyes were half-opened when I started my day.

My plan after running those 13.13 miles (funny number to finish at, yes?) was to take a shower, put my pajamas back on, eat, and go back to bed.

Now, going back to bed is not something I normally do but I decided I needed and deserved a mental health morning.

I must say, rest is something special. I should do it more often. It doesn’t come naturally to me to lay around all morning but man, I could get used to it.

I did finally get myself up just in time for lunch.

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Red Mango of course. And look what I got:

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The owner gave me this discount key chain because I am a special customer. Actually, the only reason I received this special discount key chain is because I went calmly wild in the store after seeing the price of my parfait.

My pretty parfait cost me $11. Eleven Dollars. Insane? Insane.

They have once again raised the price per ounce and I felt the need to notify the staff of my displeasure.

Their peace-offering after listening to me plead my case was a discount key chain. I will take it.

Anyway, let’s discuss the donuts.

I came home later in the day really tired but didn’t want to sit down. Once I sit, that’s it. And, as I said, sitting only causes stiffness.

I can’t begin to tell you how fast and easy these donuts were to make.

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And yes, that is a bite. I couldn’t wait.  I have little dessert patience.

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I followed Amanda’s recipe exactly (only using skim milk instead of almond. Have I mentioned I am allergic to almonds? Yeah, slightly. And sometimes not so slightly. Just like the walnuts).

This is the beginning of the most beautiful of relationships. My donut pan and me.

I have already gone pin crazy on pinterest in my quest to review some additional donut recipes to develop ideas on what to make next.

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Go ahead, click the pretty picture and follow me. I even created a board dedicated to donuts.

You would think making donuts or receiving a special Red Mango discount key chain is the most exciting thing in my life at the moment.

It isn’t:

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Stonyfield Organic Greek Yogurt is ON SALE. Have you ever tried their greek yogurt? In my opinion, it is absolutely the best tasting, but the MOST EXPENSIVE.

I don’t buy it often, as in I don’t buy it unless it is on sale, which is basically never. It normally costs a dollar more per container than Chobani or Fage and as much as I love it, I can’t justify spending so much more. All of those dollars add up.

I would rather save those dollars for the Whole Foods Food Bar:

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When I saw the roasted vegetable variety yesterday when I met my friend at Whole Foods for lunch, I didn’t know what to do first. It took great restraint to not sample my way through the food bar. OK, I admit to sampling the roasted cauliflower. A few times.

But come on, how could you not?

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If someone had told me when I was a teenager that eating a box of roasted broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, squash, eggplant and mushrooms topped with beets and tofu would excite me one day, I never would have believed it.

So here we are at Monday. I have a bit of a busy week ahead, especially today with the little boy off from school. Routine doctor appointments, a playdate and weekly sports class.

And of course, a chilly morning run before all of the fun begins.

Have a happy Monday!

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Do you find that your frozen yogurt creations are costing you more and more these days?

Which greek yogurt is your favorite? Do you choose which brand you buy based upon the price?

What do you go for at the Whole Foods Food Bar?

 

 

 

On the Mend and a Recipe

My unplanned taper plan isn’t going as expected.

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I was expecting bananas and sweet potatoes as my go to items this week. Not Motrin around the clock and my new found best friend – BIOFREEZE.

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I hope you never need to use this product. However, if you do stumble upon a random injury, such as an upset rotator cuff (injured from running no less), I must recommend you get your hands on this roll-on lifesaver.

My selfless great friend/neighbor, you know her, the friend that kindly shares her Edible Arrangements with me, saved my life the other night when she ran on over here to help me roll this on my shoulder.

Yes, I needed the help rolling it on. 

I don’t care what the ingredients are in this BIOFREEZE, how many parabens or forbidden toxins might be lurking in the vapors it gives off. It made me feel better. And when you are in serious muscle cramping radiating pain, that is all that matters.

Thankfully, I am starting to feel better. I actually slept last night without the muscle cramping pain that puts you in a state where nothing you do is right, comfortable or working.

I have been trying to rest this week in order to run the half on Sunday. I had accepted right away that no race was worth trying to run through pain but I am pretty sure I will be fine.

Rest is not something I do easily. I am always on the run, always cooking something, cleaning something or organizing something.

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I am a lot like Rosie the robot. Except we don’t have a dog. Which the boy reminds me every single day. Add it to the list of the things he DOESN’T have.

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That would be my closet. The pile of sweatshirts are still on the floor of the closet because I have been unable to raise my arm high enough to put them away.

 I have had to let myself slide this week and not attempt to keep the house as neat, organized and as clean as usual.

I made this executive decision to stop cleaning after I broke a dish attempting to get it out of the kitchen cabinet.

You would think the little boy would have sympathy for his mommy. Especially after watching the dish fly out of the cabinet and break all over the floor.

Instead, he wanted to know if we had some cake for dessert. Which we didn’t.

He then said, “So whip one up. You do that easily.”

I already have sympathy for his wife.

Luckily for both of us, I remembered a dessert I could throw together quickly and easily.

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It looks like your typical smores. But it is not.

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Please note the featured ingredient: Trader Joe’s House Whip.

Ever had a COLD SMORES? 

I used to teach a cooking class for kids and this was a perfect recipe for children because it requires no oven, no cutting and minimal (yet tasty!) ingredients.

It is a great recipe because you don’t need to follow measurements (which we know I like). You can make one, two or twelve smores and store the extras in your freezer.

You can use more chocolate chips and/or more marshmallows depending upon your taste.

Sometimes I spread peanut butter on the graham cracker or mashing some banana into the mix. Remember, get creative!

COLD SMORES

Ingredients:

**THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG INGREDIENT AMOUNT FOR THIS RECIPE

  • Trader Joe’s House Whip (or any form of Cool Whip)
  • Chocolate Chips (dark chocolate, semi-sweet, milk – doesn’t really matter)
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Graham Crackers

**I only made two smores so I used a few spoonfuls of each ingredient and two graham cracker sheets. 

Directions:

In a bowl, mix whipped topping, marshmallows, chocolate chips. Spoon on top of graham crackers to form sandwich.

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*Please note that I wasn’t able to fully mix the ingredients so that is why you notice the marshmallows and chocolate chips so well in the photo. 

Have I mentioned it is my left shoulder that is injured and I am a lefty?

Place in freezer until frozen or until you lose patience and just want to eat it.

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Simple, right?

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Delicious….

Since I am feeling slightly better, I may test out a jog this morning. Hopefully it goes well.

Have a great day!

I need to know:

Are you always on the go? Do you have a hard time resting when you are being forced to?

Have you ever had a cold smores?

Did you used to watch the Jetsons?

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