What is Tapering?

Tapering - Rest and Recover

The term “tapering” often confuses new marathon runners, as the term is not generally understood.Put simply, tapering is the gradual reduction of training intensity and duration as you edge forever closer to race day. It is a necessary aspect of endurance training and it starts in the last few weeks before the big day.

Your last big run should be around three weeks before the race, after that the body needs to be given time to recover and repair itself before it is faced with the full 26.2 miles (42.2km). This is not to say that you should stop training altogether, put your feet up and watch television, but the tapering period should be a gradual reduction in running.

Taper Tantrums

Tapering is often an incredibly frustrating time for runners. 

You have spent the past three or so months training hard and the reduction in training can make some people feel like a caged animal.

During the three week tapering period, it is so common for people to think that despite all the hard training, they are still not fit enough and are often tempted to embark on a handful of hard sessions to top up their fitness levels. DON'T.

If you aren’t fit enough before you being your training wind down, a few more hard training sessions is not going to make any significant difference and the risk you run at picking up an injury is not worth it.

Most of you reading this will completely ignore the advice, because most people do - but please try to resist the temptation to do more than you have to. 

You will not lose your fitness during the tapering period. 

In fact, if you do it properly you are likely to feel fresher on race day than you have ever felt.

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