TRAIN HARD, TAPER SMART.
Scott Fauble is no stranger to speed. The NAZ Elite standout has a number of top performances in the past year, highlighted by a 7th place at both the NYC and Boston Marathons. He lowered his marathon PR to 2:09:09 (4:55 per mile) and established himself as a favorite to represent the USA in the 2020 Olympics.
But what really sets Scott apart from others is his transparency in his training. Earlier this year, Scott and his coach Ben Rosario published Inside a Marathon — a complete deep dive on Scott’s training and lifestyle leading up to the 2018 NYC Marathon. The photograph-packed book records every mile, workout, interval, and rest day, while simultaneously documenting Scott and Coach Rosario’s feelings (and the updated Second Edition has a chapter on Scott’s Boston race!)
We recently caught up with Scott to talk about tapering. Tapering is when athletes lower training loads in the final weeks before a big effort, giving their body extra time to recover while maintaining fitness. Scott has many tips on how to maximize tapering that can be beneficial to anyone — from first timer to Olympic hopeful.
1. EMBRACE THE SUCK.
Training for a marathon is supposed to be hard – If you wake up every day feeling tired and heavy and like all you want to do is sleep for the next 3 weeks, you’re doing it right. Embrace the suck!
2. NO DECISIONS ON RACE WEEKEND!
Your last few really big long runs and workouts are dress rehearsals – Practice everything now so that you don’t have to make any extra decisions on race weekend. Make sure you’re wearing the right shoes, socks, shorts, top, hat, sunglasses. Get your pre-race dinner, your pre-race breakfast, and your in race nutrition plan dialed in.
3. TRUST YOUR TAPER.
When you start to really dial training back in the last two weeks or so, weird stuff happens. I don’t entirely understand it but sometimes your body just feels weird. It’s tempting to either stress that you’ve over cooked yourself and that you’re going to be tired on race day or feel so fresh and energetic that you feel like you still need to do extra. Once you get to the taper, you can only mess up your race. Stick to the plan, don’t let yourself run too fast on easy days, trust that you’ll be ready, rest a lot, and enjoy!
4. CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
Lots of stuff in race week can be weird and stressful. Things are going to pop up, maybe your travel gets delayed, maybe there’s a long line to pick up your number. Just roll with the punches, it doesn’t do you any good to stress out. When things don’t break your way, take a breath and think about all the work you’ve done. A delayed flight, or standing in a long line isn’t going to undo all of that.
5. DON'T TRY NEW THINGS
When you get to race weekend, you are going to be presented with the opportunity to try a ton of cool new supplements and nutritional products and rolling devices and shoes and socks and any other product you could imagine. DON’T. I repeat, DO NOT DO THIS. Stick to what you know works (see tip # 2), and don’t get sucked into the trap of, “what if this makes me 1% faster.” It’s more likely to give you diarrhea.
6. DON'T BE A HERMIT
When you get to race weekend, don’t be afraid to enjoy the city a little bit especially if you’re doing a big city race like New York or Chicago or Boston or something like that. Go check out a hip coffee shop, go see Wrigley Field, go check out Central Park. Don’t wall yourself into your hotel room and let yourself go stir crazy obsessing about the race. Don’t go on a 7 hour walking tour of the city either, but enjoy yourself get a little fresh air and don’t be afraid to do something.
7. TREAT YO' SELF
The night before your race, after you’ve had a big portion of your go-to pre-race dinner, eat a treat. I usually go with a pre-race Snickers bar, but I’ve also eaten cookies and/or brownies. You’re gonna burn like 4000 calories the next day, it’s probably good to add a few extra carbs to the mix. Plus, and I don’t know if you know this, treats are really nice and fun and tasty.
8. ENJOY YOURSELF
Race morning can be stressful. It can be nerve wracking. Remind yourself that this is the fun part- this is what you trained for. Now you GET TO run a marathon. You GET TO try really hard at something.
Running a marathon, no matter your pace, is a huge accomplishment and once you finish you should celebrate, even if you fell short of your goal. You’ve worked your ass off for weeks and then covered 26.2 miles. That’s awesome! Whether your indulgence is sweets, beer, wine, Bloody Mary’s, an entire pizza, or 10 bourbon sodas (or, if you’re me after Boston, all of the above), you should absolutely consume those things!
UP NEXT FOR SCOTT
On February 29th, 2020, Scott will be one of many top American marathoners gunning for a spot to represent the USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As of now, his PR of 2:09:09 is among the fastest of competing Americans. The field is deep and full of talent, but we like our chances going with Faubs!
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