What Do I Do Now to Prepare?
You've been running several times a week, have an outfit picked out and you know you can finish the 6.2 mile run. With two weeks to go, what else is left to do to prepare?
Consider tapering your training program. If you are new to this, the idea of scaling back on your training may feel like the opposite of what you should be doing. Try to remember that more isn't always better. In fact, pushing yourself too hard the last week or two before the race could lead to overtraining and a decrease in your performance. If you approach these last two weeks of training the right way, you could decrease your fatigue and see improvements in your performance.*
Progressive tapering does not involve extra rest days, but rather a ten to fifteen percent reduction in training volume. While this volume is reduced, plan to keep the intensity and frequency of your workouts the same. Tapering these last couple weeks will allow your body to recover and your performance to peak on race day!
While trying to decide on what outfit to wear for the run, the most important piece of equipment for a runner to buy is shoes. A poor pair of shoes doesn’t just affect your feet. They can throw off the alignment of your entire body. The wrong pair can lead to common injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, runner’s knee, back pain and even fractures. Make sure the shoes on your feet at the starting line also fall in line with the below guidelines.
- The cushioning in shoes break down over time. The general rule of thumb is to replace shoes every 300 to 500 miles.
- Shoes should be comfortable; if you feel like they need to be "broken in," then they are not the right shoe for you.
- Do the shoes fit? If your toes go all the way to the end of the shoe, then no, they don't fit. That portion of the shoe where your toes go in the shoe is called the toe box. There should be about a half to three quarters of an inch between the end of your toes and the end of that space in the shoe. With your shoe on, try pulling your toes up into the air, so it's easier to find the end of your toes, then push down with the tip of your thumb. There should be a section at the end of the shoe where your thumb is not pushing down on your longest toe.
The specific brand/type of shoe will vary from person to person. Your weight, foot width, arches, etc. all affect what specific shoe is best for you. Consider going to a running store that can recommend a shoe based on an evaluation of your foot.
Lastly, don't make race day the very first day you are running in shoes. Wear them while you train these last two weeks or alternate between your new pair and the old pair.
With a new pair of shoes and a good training program, you should be in a great position to tackle the bridge!
*Mujika, Inigo, and Sabino Padilla. "Scientific bases for precompetition tapering strategies." Medicine and science in sports and exercise 35.7 (2003): 1182-1187.