It’s a week before your marathon and you may be wondering if you are doing this taper thing correctly.
The taper is a period of a couple of weeks before your race where you ease back on the mileage run, and take things down a notch on the intensity scale.
The goal of the taper is to get some rest and recovery for your tired body. Ideally, by the time you get to the start line on the morning of your race, you’ll be feeling well rested and ready to go.
Here’s some signs that you’re tapering well:
- You feel good when you run: as you drop your weekly mileage, the runs should feel a bit easier and you should start feeling pretty good about your upcoming race. With less fatigue to deal with from aggressive training, your body will be thanking you.
- Nagging injuries or aches and pains are clearing up: those shin splints, or that little bit of tendonitis should be slowly but surely getting better as the taper continues. Allowing for recovery is one of the key reasons to taper. Getting to the start line free from any aches and pains is the goal, so at this stage, it’s advisable to over-taper if that’s what it takes.
- You’re going a little bit crazy: that nervous energy will start to build as you get closer to the race. The shorter, less intense runs don’t let you release that energy like normal. That’s good! That extra energy will come in handy on race day so resist the urge to go for those extra runs to get it out of your system.
- You are sleeping well: overnight is when the body repairs itself. Make sure that you are getting eight hours or more a night to maximize that healing. With less running to do, you’ll be able to relax in the evenings and prepare for that solid night of shut eye.
- You’ve got your race day routine and wardrobe figured out: now is the time to decide on a pair of race shoes and socks. Figure out a couple of different options for the various weather possibilities. Go to your local Running Room or running store and get your race day gels and sports drink so you don’t risk not being able to find it at the last minute.
Control the crazies
A lot of runners talk about the taper crazies in the last week before their race. But with a solid strategy in place to make the most of these last few days, you’ll be sitting pretty knowing that you’ve got everything under control.
Rest up, relax and enjoy some easy running as you’re probably not going to feel this strong and ready to go until the next time you taper.
Thanks to Phil Roeder for the photo.