With the Mayor’s Marathon just over a month away, it is time to get those tapers going. But, what is a taper? A running taper is when you slowly decrease the amount you run each day for about 2 to 4 weeks before the race. This is very important for longer races like a marathon and half marathon. Tapering reduces the risk of fatigue, muscle soreness and muscle tissue damage during the race.
Training Peak came up with four great steps to perfecting your taper:
- Evaluate where you are in your training. Everyone is different and trains differently. It is important to evaluate where you are on your track, then develop your taper from there. Most importantly, do not create your taper months in advance. Waiting two to three weeks before the race to create your taper is the ideal time. Listen to your body and create the taper based on how your body feels.
- You CAN do too much. Similar to the above step, listen to your body! It is possible to push too hard and do too much training before a big race. Not letting your muscles recover, tissues rebuild, glycogen restore and body refresh can lead to fatigue, a slower pace and potential injuries on the race day.
- Stay in “the mode”. This is the danger of tapering. It is important while training to stay “in the mode” and committed to the training, diet and dedication. It is easy to fall off a bit when training is less intense, like during tapers. Just remember to stay in the mindset of training!
- Relax! Though training is less intense, it is not time to just sit down and worry about the race. If you are tapering correctly you should be feeling pretty good about the race and have the ability to let your mind and muscles rest. If you do stress and worry try some meditation like yoga, stretching or walking.
I hope these tapering tips have helped. Remember to keep up with your training but not over train. Listen to your body!