Free Your Mind: Tips for Taper Week Madness


While talking about this and thinking about our own past or upcoming tapers; as well as what we coach our clients to do, or not, we couldn’t help but get nostalgic! We had some fun! When you look up tips, you will find “5 Tips” or “7 Tips”, “What not to do” and more…and all the same basics. Keep in mind, not everyone tapers the same; but you don’t want to be out there at mile 18 saying …maybe I should have done something different.

Whether you are traveling into town for this race, or other races in the future, some of the “DO NOT” list may not be ideal, but maybe you can hang out a few days after your race instead of prior to. It can be quite risky with food, germs, and fatigue to do a lot of new things prior.

Some of these tips may be better for closer to the night before the race, but not too early to prep! Always make sure you familiarize yourself with what you can bring to the race, and other FAQs. They do sometimes change from year to year, and not the same as with all races!

Pay attention to the race week updates and alerts. You may want to enable text message alerts if you have not already.


  • Rest! Stick to a routine.
  • Eat & Hydrate properly; + Electrolytes!
  • FILE long toenails
  • Pack for multiple weather conditions
  • Avoid pasta party (easy to over-stuff)
  • Positive self talk.
  • Visualize the race.
  • Cut back on your miles.
  • Have a race day plan.
  • Race day wear, let supporters know!
  • Race arrival. Public transportation, driving? Plan parking. Spot Hero? Early road closures.
  • Confirm your hotel/stay; no assuming!
  • Where on course are you looking for friends/family?
  • Review the course map.
  • Make sure your music, watch, earbuds are charged, or will be.
  • Pack a “Go” bag with snacks, a transit card, a map of the course with your bib # and where they should try and see you for some spectators.
  • Plan where you will meet your support team after.
  • Schedule a massage for the week after (you already should have one scheduled for race week if thats part of the plan; not too close to the race- up until Thursday or early Friday prior, or Tuesday after!) *Not a rule, but advisable
  • Recovery lounges, are great but if not used to it, head over after race day not prior!
  • Plan your packet pickup. YOU must be the one to pick it up.
  • Get to the Expo early, so you can get off your feet!
  • If for some reason you will not be able to race, you may defer by October 4 through your account.
  • Plan to wear something with your name; spectators can then cheer for you! Also if family hears your name they may spot you.
  • Have your spectators all wear the same color if possible; easier to spot the group.
  • For a cool/cold race morning, have clothing you can toss.
  • Enjoy the day, smile if you can, high five everyone, thank volunteers.


  • Nothing new on Race day or Race WEEK.
  • Vaccines this week; wait until after.
  • Crowded venues like museums or events (germs)
  • This includes shoes, sport bras, fuel,
  • Get a pedicure (Tender feet & nails cut too short is risky!)
  • Get a facial. (Think wind burn, or more sensitive to sweat, sun, sunscreen)
  • Bikini wax
  • Shave legs/pits/etc day of or possibly even day before!
  • Make up missed workouts.
  • Try any new workouts.
  • Stalk the weather; just be prepared.
  • Stuff yourself with food, especially new to you food/restaurants.
  • If you are not familiar or have not practiced carbo-loading, not time to try.
  • Stay out late
  • Give your Bib to someone else.
  • Assume you know the “rules”

Click for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Participant Guide.


Also note, according to the official website…


Participants, volunteers, event staff and spectators must pass through a security screening prior to entering Grant Park. Items deemed to be dangerous or inappropriate will be confiscated or denied access at the sole discretion of security personnel.

Prohibited items in Grant Park include, but are not limited to:*

  • Large bags (backpacks, suitcases and rolling bags)
  • Hard-sided coolers
  • Costumes covering the face
  • Any non-forming bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body, props and non-running equipment
  • Bicycles
  • Pets/animals (except for service animals)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Illegal substances
  • Chairs
  • Weapons
  • Remote controlled aircrafts and drones

Prohibited items on course include, but are not limited to:*

  • Wheeled devices are not permitted other than a registered and authorized wheelchair, hand-cycle and duo team participants. Prohibited wheeled devices include non-registered wheelchairs and hand-cycles, baby joggers, strollers, skateboards, rollerblades and bicycles. Motorized devices of any kind are prohibited.
  • The use of selfie-sticks, camera mounts, video devices, computers or any similar devices by anyone while participating in the event is prohibited.
  • Camelbaks® and any type of hydration backpack are not permitted. For the avoidance of doubt, fuel belts and hand-held water bottles are allowed. Please be aware you may be asked to empty the contents of these containers before entering Grant Park.
  • Music devices with headphones are permitted for use on the course; however, participants must be alert to their surroundings at all times and must pay attention to important announcements made in Grant Park and along the course. Music devices with headphones are not permitted for use by athletes in the American Development Program.
  • Additional prohibited items on the course route include, but are not limited to: large bags (backpacks, suitcases and rolling bags), hard-sided coolers, costumes covering the face, any non-forming bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body, props and non-running equipment, including flagpoles and sticks, pets/animals (except for service animals), alcoholic beverages, illegal substances, chairs, weapons, remote-controlled aircrafts and drones.

Please note, any items deemed to be dangerous or inappropriate will be confiscated at the sole discretion of security personnel. *Subject to change.


Other Planning

Expo Timeline

Thursday, October 5: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday, October 6: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday, October 7: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Race Day Timeline

  • 5:30 a.m. – Gear check opens
  • 5:30 a.m. – Start corrals open
  • 7:20 a.m. – Marathon Wheelchair Start (men)
  • 7:21 a.m. – Marathon Wheelchair Start (women)
  • 7:23 a.m. – Hand-cycle Start
  • 7:30 a.m. – Wave 1 Start
  • 8:00 a.m. – Wave 2 Start
  • 8:35 a.m. – Wave 3 Start
  • 4:00 p.m. – Gear check closes

That is all for now! Check out our social media for more updates on this, and much more! Everything Chicago Athlete, and around.

Have a great race!

For more information check out this article!

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Terri was not an athlete growing up. Maybe a bit “athletic” and definitely awkward. Now she is not only a runner and triathlete, but a Coach (running + triathlon) as well! She has been a part of the Chicago “sport” community for over 25 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist and Movement Specialist. Terri runs her own business, Urban Wellness Chicago in the wicker Park neighborhood; and also works with the Northwestern University Athletic Department. She does now consider herself an athlete, and regularly competes in races of multiple distances. Oh and yes, still a bit awkward! Terri is also a Certified Life & Happiness Coach with her own business All You Coaching; with additional focus on performance, life transitions, confidence, and mindset.


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