30 Healthy Ways To Distract Yourself During Your Taper

Here’s how to keep your mind off running in the lead up to the big event.

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As I stated before, the taper period before a big race can be a difficult time period. Not only are you feeling antsy about running the distance ahead of you, but now you have all of this newfound extra time to think about it (and obviously overthink and overanalyze your training plan and everything you’ve done over the past couple of months). 

To help you survive your final weeks before the New York City Marathon, here are a few healthy ways to distract yourself during your taper.

  1. Find a new book to read. I’m way behind and reading Big Little Lies now, but I’ve heard The Handmaid’s Tale is worth reading.
  2. Find a new Netflix/Hulu/whatever series to dive into.
  3. Try a new (healthy) recipe. Of course, don’t pick anything too exotic or out-of-the-ordinary for your taste buds. But something like zucchini noodles with a spiralizer could be delicious!
  4. Clean out your closet — pick out what you don’t wear anymore and find out where to donate your clothes. This is also a great opportunity to find your throwaway layers!
  5. Match all of your tupperware, and get rid of excess lids/bottoms. You know you have some lids with nothing to cover…
  6. Treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes — that you can look forward to wearing AFTER the marathon, of course.
  7. Switch out your summer wardrobe for your fall/winter wardrobe. 
  8. Call your mom (and your grandparents, your friend from college you haven’t spoken to in months, etc). Find out what they’ve been up to while you’ve been super distracted all summer marathon training.
  9. Get a pedicure. Not only is it a good idea to trim your toenails before a race, but your feet have been through a lot over the past couple of months. Show them some love!
  10. Watch a movie. And not just any movie — that movie all of your friends can’t believe you haven’t seen, even though it came out 9 years ago and you hear it quoted at least 1x a week.
  11. Go TO the movies. And not just any movie theater. Go to one that has the recliner chairs and put your feet up.
  12. Go to a comedy club or Improv show for #allofthelaughs without expending any energy (just not any of the ones with a two-drink minimum).
  13. Clean and organize your computer desktop.
  14. Book a massage (this is also a great idea for several days post-marathon).
  15. Re-watch your favorite teenage drama (The OC or One Tree Hill, anyone?).
  16. Read race recaps from your favorite bloggers to get #inspired.
  17. Watch something inspirational — like The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young or Tracktown. Here are some more inspirational movies to watch during your taper.
  18. Go to yoga. Stretching is your friend!
  19. Take an art class (one where you’ll be sitting down).
  20. Meditate.
  21. Listen to a new podcast. I recommend Dirty John.
  22. Do something fun (and low-key) with friends. Organize a movie night, a clothing swap, a taco night, or something of the like. Maybe you even want to organize a self-care night featuring face sheet masks, home pedicures, and manicures. Leave the ‘partying’ for after the race.
  23. Make a list of all the things you’ve missed during marathon training so you know what you have to look forward to post-race.
  24. Sleep in (but not too much!).
  25. Do a social media cleanse. However, be sure to keep all of your fake friends who you want to boast about your race to!
  26. Take a walk outside — but don’t forget to wear a jacket.
  27. Listen to this motivational speech from Miracle. Substitute “game” for “race” and “run” for “skate” and pretend you’re SHUTTING DOWN YOUR MENTAL ANXIETIES rather than the other team. “YOU WERE BORN TO BE RUNNERS, EVERY ONE OF YOU.”
  28. Create your marathon playlist (though I do recommend only keeping ONE earbud in during the race so you can also experience the crowds).
  29. Do laundry. It will be a lifesaver to have clean clothes the week after your race.
  30. Clean out your email inbox.

What other ways do you distract yourself before a big race?

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