Quality timeI’m running a marathon this weekend and I am in taper mode. Tapering occurs in the last couple of weeks before the race. During this time as a runner you are supposed to cut back on your training, get lots of rest and allow your body to heal from the rigors of training you have put it through the past few months. It’s very important. If you cram significant training right up to race day your body will be worn out and most likely your race will be a struggle. Training prepares you for your race and tapering allows you to get to the start line fresh.

Tapering can also be used in other ways to help you be fresh for something big in your life. It might be a test, a job interview or a big presentation we have to make. How often it is when we have one of these events that we cram, cram, cram right up until the big day.

Preparation is vital but you also want to be fresh so you can be at your best. Take public speaking for example. A great talk takes hours of preparation and practice. You have to know your content and you have to practice delivery. It can be a time consuming and exhausting process.

However, if you don’t get to the stage well rested and in the right frame of mind, all of that preparation can be wasted. No one can give a great talk when they are tired and drained of energy. You need to taper. Plan your preparation for whatever your big day is to allow a day or two to take it easy, to rest and to fuel up so you can be at your best.

Here are four taper tips that may help you:

1. Plan your preparation to include a day or two of downtime. Make sure you won’t have to cram.

2. Sleep a little more the nights before your big day. Maybe even plan a day off so you can rest a little more than normal.

3. Be hydrated. Hydration is key not only for an athletic event but also it helps keep us energized and focused.

4. Eat smart. Don’t over-eat or under-eat in the days leading up to an event. You’ll need calories for energy and even to make sure your brain is at its best.

Tapering cannot make up for a lack of preparation, but avoiding it can ruin even the best training.

Ok, I’m going back to my taper now. Have a great weekend!