In just a few weeks, many of you will be running in a half marathon. Congratulations! As you begin the tapering process, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, take some time off. Rest is essential in order for your body to recover from all the training you’ve been doing. Secondly, set realistic goals for race day. Remember don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Just enjoy the experience and savor your accomplishments! Good luck runners – let’s do this!

6 Tips to Get you through Taper

Taper is a time to rest and recover from the hard work you’ve put in. It can be tough to scale back on your running after so much time dedicated to training, but it’s necessary for race day success. Stick with us as we go over 6 taper tips that will help you stay focused and ready for race day.

  1. No new workouts – now is not the best time to roll your ankle playing basketball or pull a muscle lifting heavy weights. It is ok to go for easy short runs or cross training but now is not the time to put in hard miles or long runs.
  2. Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water throughout the week leading up to race day so you aren’t dehydrated come race morning
  3. Get enough sleep – Your body needs rest in order to recover and be primed for compleing a half marathon
  4. Fuel properly and eat healthy – Fueling yourself properly is key during this last week before race day. This mean before and on course, check out our nutrition guide. 
  5. Relax – Take some downtime, enjoy life outside of running, spend quality time with friends or family members who support you, listen to music or read a book… whatever relaxes you most!
  6. Get mentally prepared for race day – Set your race day goals and get your mind in a positive and supportive space to push you through. We cover this more below.

Setting Your Race Day Goals

Taper time is the perfect time to step back and asses your goals for race day. Your training is complete and you now know where you stand in terms of being prepared and any set backs that you are facing. Setting these goals can hold you accountable, be motivating, and build confidence. Here is one of our favorite strategies for goal setting that can lead you to success, the “ABC’s of Goal Setting”.

Set an “A” Goal.

Your “A” goal is one that may seem beyond what you can achieve or highly unlikely unless things go perfectly. If you can stay focused on your “A” goal, this can give you all the motivation you need to do all the small things along the way that ultimately leads you to achieve it. “A” goals can also be overwhelming and cause people to give up because they seem impossible at times. This is why “B”, and “C” goals are important.

Example: I want to run a personal best by 10 minutes

Example: I want to finish in the top 10 of my age group.

Setting “B” Goals

Your “B” goal is a goal that you would be happy to achieve and you are pretty certain if you put in the work, you will reach it. “B” goals are good to share with others to give you some outside accountability. Reaching “B” goals are also what you need to achieve to keep you working towards your “A” goal. The idea is for all your smaller achievements to build into larger achievements.

Example: I want to run at least one negative split

Example: I want to Stick to my nutrition plan

Setting “C” Goals

Setting Goals C goals“C” goals are the lower hanging fruit that gives you your daily motivation, keeps you on task, and builds your confidence to reach higher goals. Your “C” goals are built into your daily routine and without accomplishing these, there is no way to achieve the others.

Example: I want to run the whole distance without walking

Example: I want to get an awesome finisher photo, so I’m going to remember to smile

Example: I want to just complete the race and get my finisher medal.

Pro Tips to Setting Race Day Goals:

  • Set realistic goals: Be realistic about where you are currently at and start setting your goals from there.
  • Set goals that build on each other: Make sure you are thinking strategically about how achieving some of your lower goals will allow you to reach the higher ones.
  • Adjust your lower goals: Adjusting your lower goals are important because life throws you curveballs sometimes and it is key to experiencing success in your daily, weekly, and monthly routines. Without these successes, you will become frustrated and give up.
  • Reward: Last but not least, set up a little reward system for yourself. There is enough negative reinforcement tied to not reaching your goals, but in general, you need positive reinforcement to make the process enjoyable.
  • To reach goals you also have to sacrifice. It is OK to reward yourself with small amounts of things you are giving up to achieve your goals.

Taking time off for a “proper taper” and setting goals can help make this last stage of training more enjoyable and productive. Spend some time off to reflect on how far you have come during your training process so that you can set even higher goals for race day! Whether it be an end goal like finishing first or making sure not to walk the next 5k, we hope these suggestions will prove helpful as you prepare yourself mentally and physically for what lies ahead.

What are your top three goals going into the final days before race day? We want to hear from you! Post a story on Instagram and be sure to tag us @3MHalfMarathon.

Following GU’s nutrition planner can help you perform your best

You train for months to chase your 13.1-mile PR at 3M Half Marathon. All of your hard work leads up to Sunday, January 23rd. GU Energy Labs, the Official Energy Gel and Chew of 3M Half Marathon, is here to help you perform your best! Their products are scientifically proven to give you the energy you need. Their on-course Nutrition Station will be near Mile 7.

GU will provide the following flavors of gels and chews on course: Salted Caramel (35 mg of caffeine) , Tri-Berry (35 mg of caffeine), Campfire S’mores (no caffeine) Chews Flavors: Strawberry Energy Chews & WatermelonEnergy Chews (no caffeine).

All aid stations will be stocked with water and Strawberry Lemonade nuun to keep you hydrated on course.

But it is not all about race day. What you do in the days leading up can also impact your performance on the course. Below we will provide some tips and information that you can do before the race.

Fueling Before Running a Half Marathon

During the week before you run a half marathon, you need to focus on both hydration and providing sufficient energy/fueling.  Your calorie intake will be higher than usual and you will increase your carb load. It is also important that you hydrate in the week leading up to race day. You can supplement your water intake with nuun hydration to make sure you are getting the electrolytes your body needs to be sufficiently hydrated come race morning.

When you combine carbohydrate loading and tapering your workouts, you can store more energy in your muscles which will give you more energy sources during your event.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that carb-loading begins one week before the event with another additional increase 1-3 days out. ” Increase your carbohydrate intake to about 8 to 12 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. Cut back on foods higher in fat to compensate for the extra carbohydrate-rich foods. Also, scale back your training for three to four days before the event. The combination of eating more carbohydrates and tapering activity appears to boost muscle glycogen stores.

For most athletes, 5 to 7 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight daily is right for general training. (Note that 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.) Endurance athletes may need up to 12 grams per kilogram.”10 Low carb hit SvV | Voedingscentrum | Flickr

To give you an idea of carb counts, these foods have 15 grams of carbohydrates:

  • One slice of bread
  • One 6-inch tortilla
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 medium baked potato or sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup rice
  • One small apple
  • Two tangerines
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups green beans
  • 1 1/4 cup milk or yogurt

On race morning you will want to rise early so that you can eat at least 2-3 hours before your start time. This will allow you to digest and not have a heavy stomach. Oversleep? Don’t panic, go with a lighter meal with supplemented liquid or gel carbs.

On Course Fueling Advice & Half Marathon Nutrition Planner

Image of GU Energy Labs' half marathon nutrition plan. GU is the Official Energy Gel and Chew of the 3M Half Marathon. Click on this image to download the nutrition plan that can help you perform your best on race day.Here are some tips for making sure you’re giving your body what it needs so you perform your best on race day. Planning what to eat during a race can be overwhelming. With so many variables, it’s hard to determine what the “right” answer is for you. When deciding what to eat and drink, we think it’s helpful to break it down by looking at the nutrients your body needs.

A successful nutrition plan takes into account the number of calories your system can handle in an hour. It should also factor in your body’s need for electrolytes, amino acids, water, and protein. When thinking about your nutritional need for a race or training session, it’s important to remember that everyone is different. Every day is different. For example, body size, air temperature, activity type, intensity, and personal preference will affect your nutritional needs.

That’s why we recommend mixing and matching products to find out what works for you. For example, if you prefer to drink your calories, you can bottle up your fuel using ROCTANE Energy Drink. We developed a half marathon Nutrition Planner to help you dial in your plan for race day. We all know things can change on race day, but it helps to start with a plan! Download the Nutrition Planner and follow the steps below.

Here’s how to use our Nutrition Planner

  1. Pick your goal finishing time and find out what your average pace will be
  2. Use the table to determine your total nutritional need for the event
  3. Mix and match your favorite products and flavors, then calculate your totals
  4. Make sure your plan meets your body’s demand for each nutritional element