This is our 10-week series about training for a marathon. You’ve arrived at the tapering portion, which is the next-to-last email in the series. If you’d like to get all 10 weekly emails to support your marathon training, you can sign up here and you’ll get the first one, a compressed guide to marathon training.
Let’s talk about tapering.
Now you’re approaching the big day, you’re starting to get excited…or maybe a tad anxious.
Your training has been going well and your nutrition is on point. With only a few weeks to go, you may feel you want to carry on your good work to make sure you’re fully prepared for race day.
You’re a few weeks from race day and realise you didn’t stick your training as well as you’d hoped. You start to think – I know I should taper, but maybe if I push it for the last few weeks I can make up for the training I missed.
Whether you’re fully prepared or not prepared at all, you still need some sort of taper.
Tapering is an incredibly important part of your training programme and will ensure that you’re fit, recovered and in the best shape for race day.
Think of tapering as recharging your batteries.
Your last long run was a relatively quick 20 or 21 miles. For the last few weeks you’ve pushed your body six ways to Sunday. It needs a break to rejuvenate and repair if you’re going to expect it to push through 26 miles and not break on you by the end.
By running less and resting more over these couple of weeks, you’ll gain strength without losing fitness.
During your taper weeks, you’re giving your body a chance to recover after your weeks and months of intensive training.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to carb load – if you continue eating the way you have during your training, the decreased energy output with the same input means you naturally end up creating extra reserves of carbohydrates.
Tapering does NOT mean you collapse on the sofa and binge watch Netflix original drama.
You still need to include some running and conditioning.
You won’t do another long run a la the weekend 15-20 milers, but you’ll still want a handful of runs in the 2-3 weeks before your marathon.
They’re just shorter and less intense.
If you do a taper right, by the time you hit race day you’ll be itching to run those 26.2 miles.
If you’d like details on exactly how to structure your taper period, our 3m2m running guides (for first and repeat marathoners) have a detailed 12-week training programme, including exactly what to do in the last couple of weeks before the marathon.
The guides are available individually as kindle books from Amazon here, or you can go to our 3m2m page to get the whole bundle and/or look at our marathon packages.
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