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Flight ZONES Marathon Training Sharing #10

 Tapering

 

Tapering is just a fancy word for “rest”. It is the rest that the body requires after all those months spent training for the upcoming marathon. Training for a marathon requires a significant amount of distance to be run, and this accumulates as stress on your body. So the further the race distance is, the longer the tapering period should be. Ideally the tapering period for a marathon should be anywhere from 8 days to 2 weeks before your race.


Why is it important to taper?

 

Tapering is important mainly because you want your body to be in the best possible shape when you stand on the starting line of the marathon. “The best possible shape” means that you are physically prepared from your training and that you are also physically rested and ready to take on the race that lies in front of you. You definitely want to be in a position where you have had an extra day of rest and being a little bit more fresh; than to have done an extra day of training and feel flat on your back at the start.

 

How do you taper correctly for your marathon?

 

The basic idea of a taper is to decrease volume while maintaining or increasing intensity: more quality, less quantity. Your body remembers the distance very well, but it tends to lose its ability to cope with intensity fast. Do remember that intensity is a relative term. Intensity refers to the pace you will be running at on race day and not anything faster than that. A marathon is not a ‘fast’ event. Most tapers involve a 40 to 60 percent reduction in peak training volumes in the final week before competition. The last week, especially, involves low volumes and little speed work.

 

In the last two to four days, there is little or no training, and any training is low intensity because this is the time for athletes to rest. The key during your taper is to listen to your body. Be aware of anything that starts to hurt, and do not allow yourself to become overly fatigued.

 

Another benefit of a tapering period is that you will have more time to be able to start focusing on other key components to running your race such as your mental and nutritional preparation for the marathon. On a final note, there are many different ways to taper and it takes time to find one that suits you. Only through trial and error will you be able to master this, so adjust and modify it as you see fit. While tapering strategies are usually effective at improving performance, they cannot be expected to work miracles.


Another benefit of a tapering period is that you will have more time to be able to start focusing on other key components to running your race such as your mental and nutritional preparation for the marathon. On a final note, there are many different ways to taper and it takes time to find one that suits you. Only through trial and error will you be able to master this, so adjust and modify it as you see fit. While tapering strategies are usually ef fective at improving performance, they cannot be expected to work miracles.



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