Birthday run and race day tapering

Fall run in Toronto on Eglinton Street

Admiring the beautiful Fall colours down Eglinton Street during the first half of my run on Sunday.

On Sunday, I celebrated my birthday like any normal person. I woke up at 8:00 a.m and went on an 18km run in five degree weather.

I realize this isn’t everyone’s idea of a happy birthday, but for me, this was the perfect start to the day. This was my final long training run before the Scotiabank Half Marathon on October 14. Despite picking a route that was almost entirely uphill for the first 8km, the run went pretty well.

Looking back, it’s amazing how far we’ve come in the last 60 days. I can distinctly remember that first long training run I did at the end of August in Grand Bend. That 12km run was so challenging. Now, 12km seems to melt away in minutes and 21.1km seems achievable again.

And now, it’s time to taper. Yay! The idea of the taper is that you give your body time to rest and recover before the big race. You’ve put in the hours and done all the work. Now it’s time let your body relax a little so that you’re well rested and full of energy at the starting line.

There are many different tapering strategies out there and they vary depending on the kind of race you’re doing. I like to complete my last long training run about a week before race day. I try to approach that run casually and not strive for speed. It’s really just to get the distance under my belt.

In the last week prior to the race, I take it easy. No hills. No hard training. I plan on doing a short 5km run and some low impact exercise like a spinning class. The goal is allow some rest while maintaining your strength.

As for food, well, there’s some obvious advice out there. Avoid greasy foods and alcohol in the days leading up to the race. During the last few days, drink lots of water. Hydration is key.

And the night before the race? Carb load so you’re fueled. While everyone will have their own race routine, I love the concept of eating a big carb-packed dinner. I LOVE carbs so this is really my favourite part. Last year, I ate perogies and a roast beef sandwich for the dinner the night before the race. I may replicate that again this year. Why mess with success?

One important tip: don’t experiment or try anything new the week leading up to race day. This would be a bad time to try Indian food for the first time or to lace up a new pair of shoes. Just stick to what you know.

Do you have any tapering techniques? What’s your fave part of the taper?


  1. author25 October 16, 2012 / 2:20 am

    Yay! Good for you! How did you do on Sunday? I was one of the 25,000 others that showed up and I was so happy the weather eventually cleared for us. Scotiabank was my first half marathon (and first race) ever & I’ll be doing it again, if for nothing else, than the guilt free carb loading! Hope it went well & happy belated birthday 🙂

    • Miranda October 16, 2012 / 10:55 am

      I was SO happy the weather cleared up! It turned out to be a good run. Just drafting my race recap now. Should be up before end of day. 🙂 Congrats on your first race! What an amazing accomplishment. Be proud.

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