Tapering is when runners slowly reduce their amount of training miles prior to race day. It is one the toughest aspects of marathon training, as many runners think they are not ready for race day and feel they need to continue to push themselves. However, their bodies are ready and they need this time to recover. Here are a few tips to help you properly taper:
- Reduce your distance and intensity of your training runs leading up to the last two to three weeks prior to the marathon. This will help your body to recover physically and mentally to prepare for race day.
- Reduce calorie intake. Since you are reducing miles, you are reducing the amount of calories you burn. Cut back a bit on the quantity of your servings during this phase.
- Select foods that are nutritious and healthy rather than high-fat products. Make sure you keep eating fruits and vegetables during these final weeks.
- Hydration is key, especially in the last week of training. The combination between carbohydrates and water will help build your energy levels for race day.
- Don’t try new things the week prior or during the race. This is not the time to experiment.
- Rest. Try to get eight hours of sleep per day during this phase. The rest will help the body recover and give you more energy for race day.
Do not resist the taper!