By:  Coach Al DiMicco

Well, here we are…one week from the Mercedes Marathon and Half Marathon. Hope I didn’t surprise anybody with that last sentence! If I did, then it’s time to get serious about your training. The good thing is that you can just ease right into your taper week. I hope some of you are getting nervous, because if you’re calm, then you don’t get it, or else you’re one supremely confident person. Nervous energy is good as long as you can control it and you keep it positive. Don’t let it develop into panic as the week progresses. Keep reviewing the training you’ve done – you’ve been out there for months in the rain, heat, cold, wind, snow, everything that Father Nature could throw at you. You’ve done your 20 miler, you’re 17 miler, your 15 milers. Why in the world would you have negative thoughts? When I was training for my first marathon (I think it was the one right after Phidippides died in 300 BC), my mentor, Max Michael, told me if you can get through the training, then you’re a marathoner. Yes, so many things can go wrong on the BIG DAY, but let’s just put that in the “things we CAN’T control” column. Your body is ready and rarin’ to go, Don’t let idle negative thoughts muck it up. If you’ve been following the taper plan, then this will be one easy week. Tomorrow, the full marathoners do 11 miles and the Half Marathoners do 15 miles – just want to see if you’re paying attention – you guys do 6 miles. Then the rest of the week is laid back with just a few miles to keep the legs loosened up. NOTHING you do this week will help, but you can do a whole lot to screw up your race. My usual schedule is to take Monday off, run Tues/Thurs, off Friday, then a short 20-30′ jog on Saturday IF I feel like it. I like that Saturday run especially if I fly to a race on Friday, but seeing that I don’t plan to fly the 10 miles from Hoover to downtown, I’ll probably take Saturday off and spend part of the day at the Expo. All runs or walks should be done at the same pace you have been doing in training – don’t goof off just because it’s taper week and don’t try to cram in any speed work! Eat normally, which should mean 60-70% carbohydrates and don’t stuff yourselves. The fact that you’re running less will cause your muscles to store the extra carbos you’re ingesting just by eating normally. Drink often – don’t pass a water fountain without taking a swig. Don’t worry, you won’t get hyponatremia walking around the office! By now, you should know my #1 bit of advice – KNOW THE COURSE!!! Get a hold of a course map, including the elevation, and look at it EVERY DAY this week. Then try to picture yourself running the course comfortably, I don’t want anybody to ask me at the start “Are there any hills?”. Hopefully, you locals have done at least one of our “on-the-course” training runs. If not…Too late!! There is so much confidence gained in knowing the course.

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