Tapering is often more difficult than the really hard training for a lot of athletes. The mind plays a lot of tricks on you while you taper down for your big race, especially with all that new-found time on your hands.
Many athletes worry that they will put on weight during their taper period because they are no longer doing the endless volume that they were in peak season yet they find they are still ravenous. Weight gain is a valid concern especially if you are the type of athlete who trains to eat (whatever you want).
The key is to keep yourself in check. Say no to those foods you are are not healthy for you. It’s not to say you need to start counting your calories, you still need nutrients in the taper period to facilitate the repair of muscles and tissues so that you are strong and healthy for race day. Here are 3 some tips to help keep you lean and ready for race day!
Ditch the sports bars. If you are training less you can reduce your reliance on sports products during your training as well as throughout the day if you were using them as meal replacements or snacks. Instead, aim for water during your workouts (depending on the duration) and fill up on fresh veggies and nuts as snacks.
Get cooking! Make use of the new found time on hands and cook some healthy meals. Get back in the kitchen and maybe experiment with some new produce and whip up a delicious and healthy meal with healthy lean protein and good fats.
Watch the “bad” carbohydrate intake. You know the ones… sugary treats, baked goods, alcohol, chips. Those refined carbohydrates are not going to be as forgiving with your lower training volume, so tighten up the reighs a bit and eat naturally, balanced and healthy. You still want to have carbohydrates, but look for the higher fibre ones like brown rice, quinoa, lentils or sweet potato and ease back a bit on the portions at least until you start your carb load phase for you half and full iron distance athletes.