Posted by: Ingrid | September 22, 2014

I meant to taper but then I made homeade bread: Notes on tapering


Okay, I didn’t throw out the entire taper for a loaf of bread, not really.  I have three small children, live in a new town, and my husband just started a new job.  Oh, and the Princess was teething all during taper week for tooth number 4.  Fewer miles and more sleep that last week?  Sign me up!  Taper crankiness didn’t really hit until the day before the marathon, which was a pleasant surprise.

I never actually figured out the eating plan I should be doing.  I was told (and this has been confirmed by a reliable source) that often in the week prior to a marathon you cut carbs for 3-4 days, feel nauseous and crappy because you are living on veggies, egg whites, and chicken, and then you eat lots of carbs the last few days for maximum glycogen retention.  Science, people, you gotta’ love it.  I like the idea of high protein lower carb eating until I actually try it and remember how bad I am at doing it.  Maybe it’s because I have little kids around and their food is in sight.  Maybe it’s just because I like the bread I make.  Which I made on the first day I was supposed to go low carb.  But I remembered that I am almost exclusively breastfeeding still and then low carb sounded like a dumb plan.  So it was going to be low-ish carb.  But then I made bread and ate it.  With butter.  It was awesome.

Low carb taper fail.

But I was quite diligent with the rest of my taper, a mixture of fear and ritual lest I make a mistake and mess up the end product.  This consisted of the following.

Sleep: I tried to get as much sleep as I could with my family’s sleep patterns being what they are right now.  Which is short for the fact that I felt like every night I was in a fight with my family to get decent sleep.  Husband, bless his heart, slept on a mattress in the living room so that his snoring and Liliana’s crying didn’t wake me up.  That is a good man for you!

Water: It was a cooler week and I didn’t exercise much, but I tried to get in 8-10 cups of water a day and even more the day we drove up to elevation.

Food: I tried to eat more naturally (like I should do always) and kept carbs to about 30-40% for the first three days of the week.  Then I upped the carbs to 65%.  When I committed to the marathon I also changed up my calorie allotment from “lose a pound a week” to “lose a half pound a week”.  Since I have followed the “lose a pound a week” number since Christmas and have lost roughly four pounds, that was no great hardship.  The last few days I ate at complete maintenance.

Exercise: The week consisted of 3 miles, 30 minute bike, 4 miles, rest day, 3 miles, rest day, marathon.  Two rest days in one week!  I was tired enough that it didn’t phase me (much).

Rehearsal: I tried to think through the day of so that I knew when I wanted to drink and eat and some options for breaking up the marathon into smaller portions.  Supposedly this is a good plan.  I thought it was helpful.

Does anyone else have marathon nightmares?  I had three the week before the race!  Weird dreams like running half of the race indoors or having to stop at stations along the way to listen to a sales pitch when you know you are on the clock and should be running or having the option of doing part of the marathon on the elliptical but then realizing I would still have to run the whole 26.2 to get to the end.  So weird!

Things to do before the next marathon

-Negotiate with baby so that I can sleep through the night.

-Keep making sleep a priority.

-Try to get below my pre-pregnancy weight in order to look more like a marathoner and less like a mother of small children.

-Weight train.  I need, Need, NEED to do this.

-Figure out what kind of eating works best in training and on long runs.  I think I am a slightly lower carb person, like around 40-45%.  I felt terrible and hungry all the time the last three days of my taper when I was getting 65% carbs.  I would like to experiment more with something other than the tried and true Gatorade and Gu approach.  At the same time, I discovered Salted Caramel Gu.  It’s like they were reading my Pinterest recipe page!

All in all, the dreaded taper wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated and now I have more recent data to go on rather than trying to remember what I did nine years ago.  Also, if you haven’t tried the Salted Caramel Gu (and you like Gu and aren’t refueling with chia seeds and raw honey), it is definitely worth buying!


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