Tapering for your Autumn Marathon
Marathon Taper is quite often something that people find difficult and quite often people are not sure how to go about it correctly! Hopefully some of the tips in this article can help you! With Dublin City Marathon just around the corner I think the timing of this one can benefit a lot of runners!
The definition of taper or tapering in essence is the reduction in volume of training prior to a race or event. Our aim here with a taper is to recover from the weeks of training you have put in and to allow your body to recover & be fresh for race day!
Some people often struggle mentally with the taper, they begin to doubt themselves a bit and are wondering if they have done enough training! Believe me 2 to 3 weeks out you certainly have your training done! At this point you need to sit down and think back on all the training you have done, give yourself a tap on the back and just trust in the work!
- 3 Weeks out from you chosen race you should look at reducing your milage by about 15% there or there about's! For example if you are running 50 miles a week your taking out 7 miles. Take an extra recovery day or reduce a few runs by 2/3 miles each. I would still keep some speed sessions & intensity in there at this point to keep your legs ticking over!
- 2 Weeks out your going to be down to about 70% or so of your total milage! I would still look at keeping some modern intensity in there! People struggle here as they cut back on milage & pace together and then come race day feel sluggish. If you do a mid week its nice to lock these in at marathon pace! 10/14 days out its good to keep getting a feel for what race day is going to be like! Of course you should know your race pace by this point! 2 Weeks out your long run should be down to about 50% of what your longest run was! Example, your longest run was 22 miles, your doing 11 now.
- 1 Week out! .... Don't freak out anyway, thats a good start to this weeks taper! Your going to be down to about 50% of your total milage now, maybe less in come cases! I would still recommend to keep a short speed session in there this week! Simply to keep the legs turning over! It could be a really simple session of 800/100 m x 3/4 at marathon pace with 2/3 mins recovery in between. This run session should certainly not fatigue you, but will give you some confidence again and a little pep in your step!
Here is a little eyebrow raiser for you, I think its a great idea to run the day before the race. Basically it will get some blood flow to your legs, it will keep you moving & its going to help you feel less nervous! I run the day before every race, always! Your looking at 4km maybe 5km at most nice and easy, I don't wear the watch, just get out & let the legs turn for a little bit! Some light foam rolling & stretching afterwards and then relax!
I think it is also very important that you fight your inner marathon monkey during the taper period! You will want to sneak in extra miles, and extra spin class or an extra yoga class, but don't! You have the work done, respect your body at this point, leave it recover and watch it go on race day!
You will feel bored, you will feel a little fatigued & you will feel a little nervous! Great! That's all part of it! But remain calm and follow the steps if you can! It is also worth mentioning that a taper is different for everyone! Your training buddies will feel very different to what you feel! Who knows, you might lose your mind altogether! Haha ... Ok hopefully that won't happen! But take Craig Alexander, numerous Ironman World Championships to his name. Says he never tapers, trains hard right up to 48 hours before the race! So different strokes for different folks!
Nutritionally I see a lot of runners making mistakes in their taper! You will have to reduce calories a bit! You are not training to the same level you were during your main training blocks. So eating the same amount of food but doing 50% less of the training is going to leave you feeling bloated and maybe a pound or two up on race day! Don't want that now!
Its a good idea to keep your carb intake fairly steady, and ensure your getting plenty protein to help with recovery and re building! Keep your hydration in check! Sip on water throughout the day and your urine should be a pale yellow colour! This gives an indication that you are properly hydrated!
Then just get out there and run! Don't build it up too much in your head, you have done the work! Now is the time to let your body recover and recoup! And if for some reason you have not done the work, well thats a pity, but instead of telling yourself you are going to die, get out there and enjoy the day anyway! There are loads of people there who love the opportunity to lace their shoes up and go out for a run!
We don't have to run, we get to run! Remember that! :)
**We will be at the Dublin City Marathon Expo on the Friday & Saturday before this years Dublin Marathon! Make sure to pop by and say hello! :)