Tapering Tips for a Marathon

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This week I run my second marathon - The Brighton Marathon, with London being my previous. My goal this time, has been to learn and build on my experience from the London Marathon. This includes better nutrition, tailoring each training session to focus on quality rather than quantity. All my training is in the bag now - this week I’m just focussing on mentally and physically tapering down to Sunday’s event. Getting plenty of rest, focussing on the right nutrition and ensuring I don’t overdo the training. So I have collated my key taper tips based on previous experience and research. 

Note that the run type moves from specific training methods (sprints intervals, fartlek, marathon pace) to running an easy pace.

  • 3 weeks out  - Start to reduce total weekly mileage by 20-25% and each individual run by this amount.... If you’re last run is 20 miles then your run should be around 15 miles at a very light pace. If you are running 35 miles a week collectively, reduce mileage to 25/26 miles
  • 2 weeks out  - Start to reduce total weekly mileage by 20-25% and each individual run by this amount.... If you’re last run is 12-15 miles then your run should be around 8-10 miles miles at a very light pace.
  • 1 week out - again… reduce the weekly mileage by 20-25%
  • Mid week runs - no more than 4 miles at a light page.
  • Avoid strength/weight training of the lower body
  • Stock up on key nutrients:
    • Vitamin C - Build up immune system with foods such as Orange, Kiwis, Brigh coloured veg such as red, yellow bell peppers,
    • Stock up on protein to rebuild muscles that have been torn/feeling achey.
  • Stretching - Focus on foam rolling and lots of stretching. This is now my mantra and I spend 20-30 minutes stretching after each run. I have narrowly avoided injury by rolling out my IT Band. This lengthens up the connective tissue running from the outside of the hip to the Knees. This is often where a lot of athletes feel pain in their knee because the connective tissue becomes tight and pulls at the knee.
  • Rest - Stock up on lots of sleep for your body to recover from all the months of training/
  • Visualisation & Preparation on the day - many runners find the taper part particularly difficult, so to avoid demotivation because you can't get out there and pound the pavements start focussing on the race:
    • Visualise yourself running the course of the run.
    • How are you going to pace yourself throughout the martathon - negative splits (the first half of the marathon at a slower pace than the second to avoid overload and pushing yourself too much that you wil become much slower at the end)
    • Start visualisation your prep the day, getting together all your gels, clothes, water - have you prepared and bought everything you need for the day?
    • Reflect on all the great training you have done in the lead up to the day, be proud of what you have already achieved!!

Good luck to everyone running the Brighton and London Marathon!

Alice x