The tapering phase is a critical part of endurance and marathon training. During the last couple of weeks of your training, it’s important that you taper, or cut back your mileage, to give your body and mind a chance to rest, recover, and prepare for your marathon. Here are all the things you need to know about why tapering is important and essential. I write this as I myself begin my last week of taper before CIM, so I hope I can keep it all in my head!!!
For seasoned runners etc how long you taper is really up to you usually I take 2 weeks and do my final long run 2 weeks before my race. They recommend 3 weeks but only you know your body and ability so listen to it.
Here are some general guidelines for what to do and what to expect during the pre-marathon tapering period:
- Do your last long run or long race two/three weeks before the marathon. After that, cut your mileage down to about 80% of what you were doing.
- Don’t be surprised if you feel some new aches and pains during the tapering period. It’s a normal part of the process, as your body repairs itself from months of training.
- Sleep is also an important part of the tapering process. You don’t need to sleep for excessive amounts of time, but try to get at least eight hours a night.
- If you want to get a pre-race, deep tissue massage to loosen up your muscles, do it at least a week before your marathon. A deep tissue massage can have the effect of a hard workout on your muscles, so you don’t want to do it too close to the race.
- Give your muscles a chance to rest and skip your strength-training routine in the final week before your marathon. You won’t get the benefits from it until after the marathon anyway.
- Work on your mental preparation by reviewing the course map and visualizing yourself during the race.
- Diets important leading up to race day. Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals), and drink plenty of fluids. In the week before your marathon, about 65-70% of your calories should come from carbs. Avoid alcohol as it has a dehydrating effect and can also interfere with your sleep.
- Take at least one or two days off from running during marathon week. Some people prefer to take off the two days before the race, while others will take off Friday before a Sunday marathon and do a very easy 20 to 30-minute run the day before the race to work out last-minute nerves. Its up to you its also ok to take the 2 days before to relax and aim to stay off your feet alot day before the race. Go easy at the expo!!!As race day approaches, you’re likely to be stressed and irritable. Stay relaxed and confident, and know that pre-race nerves are normal.
- Try to avoid stress-inducing activities or situations.
- Also during race week you can start getting your stuff ready and packing and checking all your gear is in order clean and working etc.
If you have a pre race taper ritual that works for you and produces results congrats, I have a fairly specific ritual that includes easy running, yoga, stretching and a massage. This is all just some tips and guidelines pick and choose and create your own recipe for greatness.
And take a peek at part 2 🙂 happy running and happy tapering.