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Marathon Taper

Tapering your training on the run up to the big race day.

Many of you have been training diligently all winter in preparation for a spring marathon.  Most advice on marathons describes the last 3 weeks as the most important in the whole build up. The reason for this is that this is the taper phase where the mileage is reduced in preparation to run the race (hopefully of our lives). The hard work is now done and in any case if it isn’t, its getting a bit late to start now as it takes at least 10 days for the physiological benefits of a training session to take full effect as the body adjusts to and rebuilds from the hard training.

Schedules and coaches advice varies considerably in the length and amount of taper required. The length can be from 3 weeks to as little as 1. The intensity varies as well. The consensus seems to be:  3 weeks to go do 80% of max training volume, 2 weeks 60% and the final week 30%. However this last week could be little as 10%. There is likewise disagreement as to what, if any, speed or tempo work should be done in the last week(s).

Whatever your goals it is very important to do a decent taper and give your body a chance to rest and be fully able to take advantage of all the training come race day. The worst thing to do is to start a race, especially a marathon, in any way tired. If you are running a marathon this month whatever your goals we hope you achieve them and have a great race.


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