The last two weeks before a marathon or half marathon are the time to taper—your hard training is over—and what you do during this period can make a huge difference on race day. Time to think about shortening your runs and dialing in your fueling.
Olympic coach and Competitor senior editor Mario Fraioli helped us create a cheat sheet of the definitely do nots before the main event.
Don’t execute a cram session.
Adding extra runs to make up for missed ones is a race-week no-no. This will only hurt you. Rely on rest to prep the legs for 13.1, not 13.1 and an extra 10-miler.
Don’t worry about weight.
Many runners add on a few pounds in the weeks before a race. No surprise here: You’re carb loading and not running as much, which can lead to water retention. Don’t sweat it—it’s natural, and we promise you’ll lose them on race day.
Don’t try new foods.
This is most crucial the night before the race, but avoiding experimental eating during taper week ensures your insides are happy leading up to the starting gun. Stick to what you know.
Don’t get a serious rubdown.
Save the indulgent massages for after the event. Unless this is part of your normal training plan and you work with a therapist who knows your body, it’s best to wait until after your victory lap to get deep with your muscle tissue.
Don’t party all night.
Now is not the time to stay up late and sacrifice sleep. Rest your body and remember that you’re throwing yourself a post-race, libation-fueled extravaganza in three weeks.