Beth Wallace, a dietition at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is chronicling the journey of her and her motley group of roomates as they battle to beat each other in the Broad Street Run. In this third installment, she offers some guidelines for that final week before the race. Check out all of our Broad Street Run coverage at

We are getting close.

It's very close to race day. It seems like it was just last week when Joe, Soup, JP and I incessantly pressed "submit" on the Broad Street Run Web site to secure our spots in the race and spark a little bit of competition. April came and went in the blink of an eye, and now I am just one long training run away from the well deserved "taper week."

After Saturday's long run, I set my Garmin watch aside and start my race week routine. (Yes, I have a routine.  I have a routine and a plan for everything. I'm a real maverick). To me, this week is just as important as the rest of training. I would be lying to say that taper doesn't lend itself to my lazy side, but it also leads to well rested legs that are ready to carry me the distance. More importantly, a good taper is where you gain that last little bit of confidence and motivation before race day. S,o here are my taper week rules:

  • Go to bed thirty minutes earlier than usual. The night before a race I am a nervous wreck who wakes up every 42 minutes to make sure that I haven't overslept. Undoubtedly, taper week is also the week that something unfortunate happens, like the time my dog got a stomach virus and had to go outside hourly two nights in a row. In my head, trying to bank a week of sleep is worth something.

  • Forty eight hours before the race, I stop eating all forms of fiber, dairy, red pepper, and caffeine. Whether or not you read my last entry, I think this one stands without further explanation.

  • Two nights before the race, I put on self tanner. Before you knock me for being narcissistic, try it.  Those mid-race photos are outright brutal, so I take any help I can get.

  • On Saturday night, I decide what food I get to indulge in at the post race party. Most times I plan on a smattering of several breakfast favorites, but this year, I'm interested in fried ravioli.

  • Read the email that my grandfather sent me three years ago on the night before my second marathon. It says:

"Dear Beth,

Good luck tomorrow.  I think you'll win.

Love, Grandpa"

I finished that race two hours behind the winner, but I am certain that he passed away still thinking it was a close finish.

I am not sure what the rest of the household has in store as a pre-race plan, but I'm kind of anxious to see.  Soup is a real creature of habit, so I anticipate a well orchestrated routine probably involving ironing his race outfit. Joe and J.P. are the free spirits in the house and will more than likely wing it, but one will scramble at the last minute to find safety pins for his race bib.

I do know one thing; they're going to have to get their own self-tanner.

Beth Wallace contributes regularly to's Healthy Kids blog. Read her previous installments about racing down Broad Street:

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