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What's the Taper? Mastering the Taper: Optimizing Your Training Leading Up to Race Day

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

What's the Taper? : Optimizing Your Training Leading Up to Race Day

In the world of distance running, 'tapering' is a term often used but sometimes misunderstood. It refers to the intentional reduction of training volume in the lead-up to a race, an essential strategy to ensure peak performance on race day. In this guide, we'll explore the art of tapering and offer insights on how to master it effectively.

1. Understanding Tapering

Tapering is all about balance - reducing your training workload enough to allow your body to fully recover, but not so much that you lose your fitness edge. Getting it right can mean the difference between a personal best and a disappointing performance.

Slow run
Tapering is all about balance

2. Timing Your Taper

Tapering typically starts 2-3 weeks before a marathon or long-distance race. For shorter races, a one to two-week taper may be sufficient.

3. Reducing Training Volume

During your taper, gradually decrease your weekly mileage. A reduction of about 20-25% each week is a good guideline. This reduction allows your muscles to recover and rebuild stronger.

4. Maintaining Training Intensity

While you're reducing the volume of your training, it's important to maintain its intensity. This approach helps maintain your running form and confidence, while reducing the risk of overuse injuries and fatigue.

5. Nutrition and Sleep During Taper

As your training volume decreases, continue to focus on healthy nutrition to fuel your body. Ample sleep is also essential during this period, aiding in recovery and preparation for race day.

Mastering the taper can be a game-changer in your race preparation. By understanding the process and implementing it effectively, you can ensure that you'll arrive at the starting line in peak condition, ready to run your best race.

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