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      Race to Bayshore: Week 16

      It's the last week of the Race to Bayshore program as our runners prepare for their races on Saturday. Coach Lisa is giving the team a special challenge this week.

      If youâ??re like me, itâ??s hard to find time to do event the simple things like pleasure reading, so for our Upnorthlive team running THIS Saturday, Iâ??ve summarized the awesome article about Tapering for an event, we posted last week from a 2003 issue of Runnerâ??s World.

      I wonâ??t write out the Monday through Sunday schedule as usual, which will force our runners to plan it out themselves after reading through the excellent article below:

      For Marathoner Marcâ?|

      From Runnerâ??s World:

      During Week 3 of your taper, things can get ugly. Two weeks ago you ran 20 miles in a single run, but now you won't run this amount all week. And as your mileage plummets, your worries can skyrocket. But take comfort that thousands of other marathoners preparing to race this coming weekend are going through the exact same thing. And take refuge in your final mission: to ensure that your body is sufficiently fueled, hydrated, refreshed, and recovered for the task.

      Training Checklist?

      1. Beginning on Monday, do no runs longer than 4 miles. And when you do head out, remember that these jaunts are more for your head than your body, because training has little effect this week. ? 2. Almost all running should be at 11/2 to 2 minutes per mile slower than marathon goal pace--except a Tuesday 2-miler at marathon goal pace, sandwiched by 1-mile jogs. Again, if you want, throw in some quick 100-meter strides after one or two of your workouts. This helps fight off the sluggish feeling that can occur during your taper. ?

      3. Three days before the race, run just 2 to 3 miles easy.?

      4. Two days before the race, don't run at all.?

      5. On the day before the race, jog 2 miles to take the edge off your pent-up energy so you'll sleep better that night.

      Mental Preparation?for Any Runner

      "Confidence should be the focus of the final week," says Hays, "but you may still experience anxiety. If so, remind yourself that you're physically prepared because you did the necessary training, and you're mentally prepared because you did the necessary trouble-shooting and goal-setting."?

      Try to minimize job, relationship, and travel stresses all week.

      If you're nervous about the race, try breathing exercises to relax. Breathe in and out as slowly and deeply as possible, letting your belly expand as you inhale. Focus your attention on the breathing and any positive, calming image.?

      If you're too super-charged with energy to sleep, try this relaxation exercise. First tense, then relax your muscles, one at a time, starting with the muscles in your face and working down to your toes. Sex can also help relax your mind and body.

      Nutritional Needs?

      "Emphasize carbohydrates more than usual in the last 3 days before the race," says Tichenal. About 60 to 70 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrate sources. Pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals, and fruit are healthy choices, but even sodas and sweets do the job. It all turns into muscle glycogen.?

      Wash all those carbs down with fluids so your energy and water levels are high on race morning. Alcoholic beverages don't count toward your fluid totals, however, and you'll need to make up for their diuretic effect by drinking extra fluids. You know you're adequately hydrated if your urine is clear or pale yellow in color.?

      Don't restrict the salt in your diet. Low salt intake combined with excessive hydration can lead to hyponatremia, a rare but dangerous condition that can afflict marathoners. Drinking sports drinks and snacking on salted popcorn and pretzels will help keep your sodium levels up.?

      Don't look at the scale. Because of your fully stocked fluid and fuel stores you're likely to gain a couple pounds this week. But it's worth the weight. Having your body's energy reserves at full capacity will do more for your race than weighing a little less--and you'll lose those pounds by the finish line anyway.

      And Don't Forget?

      Don't do anything tiring. Let the grass grow. Let the kids take out the garbage. Let the dog walk himself.?

      Don't try anything new. No new foods, drinks, or sports.?16. Don't cross-train, hike, or bike.?

      Don't get a sports massage unless it's part of your routine. You may feel bruised a couple days afterward if you're not accustomed to it.?

      Stay off your feet and catch up on movies, books, and sleep. If you go to the pre-race expo, don't stay long. ?

      Remember: During this final week, you can't under-do. You can only overdo.

      The Final Hours?

      Feeling calm, confident, and in control is your mission on race morning. Here's how to come by the three Cs:

      1. Be sure your race outfit, shoes, timing chip, number, bag, and map to the start are set out the night before, so a treasure hunt isn't required in the morning.

      2. Eat a light, easily-digestible meal, such as oatmeal or white toast and a banana, at least 2 hours before the start. Make sure you've eaten these foods before a few training runs with no adverse effects.

      3. Drink 8 to 16 ounces of sports drink 60 to 90 minutes before the race.

      4. Arrive at the start about an hour early, so you won't have to rush.

      5. Joke around with friends or fellow runners before the race to lighten your mood.

      6. About 25 minutes before the start, do some walking, slow jogging, then a few 50-meter pickups at race pace. Visit the portajohn one last time. Mentally review your race plan.

      7. Position yourself appropriately at the start according to your projected pace, and remind yourself to start easy! You'll be glad you did when late in the race you're able to pass all those runners who started too fast.

      Taper Tips for Shorter Races?The taper is nearly as important for a short race as for a marathon; it just doesn't need to last as long.

      1. For half-marathons, limit your long run on the previous weekend to 8 or 10 miles, and cut your usual run distances in half the rest of the week.

      2. For 5-Ks to 10-milers, cut your mileage in half for 3 to 5 days before the race.

      3. If you do any speedwork in the last 3 to 6 days before a sub-marathon-distance race, make it only a third of a normal speed session.

      4. Carbo-load in the last 3 days before a half-marathon if you wish, though it's less crucial than it is for a marathon.

      5. Don't carbo-load before races shorter than 10 miles, because it doesn't help and the extra weight you may gain will slow you down.

      6. If you're nervous in the days before a sub-marathon race, remind yourself that you can run another one in a few weeks if it doesn't go well.