Gore-Tex Transalpine Run: Time to Taper

No matter how my training has gone, over the 7yrs I have ran this race, I always question whether I have trained enough and if I am actually ready by the time my taper for the Gore-Tex Transalpine Run arrives.  While it's normal to have some doubt , at some point you have to trust in your training and embrace the taper phase.  Overdoing it this close to the race will only increase your risk of injury, overtraining, burnout or illness.  Getting to the start line healthy should be your main goal now, so I have created a short list of things to consider as you approach the final weeks heading into the race:

  1. Reduce your overall weekly volume by 20-50% per week.  You will want to lean more on the higher side of things the more training you have done and/or the more fatigued you feel.  
  2. Reduce your long runs.  The longer and more intense a workout, the more recovery is required and higher risk of injury this close to the race.  You're aiming to maintain your fitness heading into the race.  Not tear the body down or dig yourself a hole.
  3. Don't change up the type of terrain or add in new workouts or cross-training.  If you haven't been running a lot of road, for example... don't suddenly spend all your taper runs on asphalt.  Try to mimic what you have been doing, just reduce the volume and take an extra day or two off in the week.
  4. This is a good time to book massage, chiropractor or other appointments to help relax, recovery and rejuvenate your body.  Just be sure to let your practitioner know you have a stage race coming up to ensure you receive the proper type of treatment this close to the race.
  5. Prioritize sleep.  Forego an early morning workout or two to get some extra rest.  It's likely that many people will travel and may be effected by jet lag and/or will not always get the best sleep during race week.  Therefore, it's even more important to ensure you get proper shut-eye the weeks leading into the event.  Aim to add 1hr extra at night or add a nap to your day.
  6. Get together with your partner and finalize your race strategy.  Be open and honest with how you're feeling, your fears, your strengths and expectations now that you're so close to the race.  It's really important that both teammates are on the same page.
  7. Visualize.  Create a race strategy in your mind that is so believable you feel it happening.  Picture the people in your life that support you, that are cheering for you and how you want to feel.  Use positive affirmations like "I plan to do well" and avoid filling your mind with things you're worried about.  Every time you feel nervous or your mind starts to wander to a negative place... stop and just smile. Use this energy to then adjust your mindset to what you want and how you want to feel.
  8. Fuel and hydrate well.  Especially for anyone who is travelling and flying.  Be sure you're well hydrated 7-5 days leading into the race.

While everyone's taper will look a little different, be confident in your plan and stick to it. Remember, arriving to the start line rested and healthy will give you a better chance of success.  With a proper pacing strategy and recovery plan in-between stages, you will run yourself into even better shape over 7 days.  

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Rene Unser is a 7 time Gore-Tex Transalpine Run participant and has finished hand in hand with her partners, finished solo, DNF'd, has won stages and finished 3rd overall in the team women's category.  Throughout all these experiences, she has learned so much about herself, partner racing and stage racing and is working with PLAN B to share monthly stories and insights that will help others make the most out of their 2018 journey across the Alps.  Rene also writes training plans for novice and experienced runners, which have helped teams successfully finish this event every year. #keeponrunning #transalpine2018