This week’s topic is: Tapering
Well, this topic is appropriate because I have a 10 mile race this coming weekend.
So I guess I am tapering.
What does “tapering” mean?
It 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.
A few weeks in the case of a marathon. For me, it is the last week before a half marathon. After my long run of 12 miles, I reduce my long run to 8 miles and run several times during the last week. Those runs are usually only 3 miles and then I rest for two days before the big event.
Why is tapering important?
- Studies show that levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones–all depleted by high mileage–return to optimal ranges during a taper.
- The muscle damage that occurs during sustained training is also repaired.
- And if that isn’t enough, immune function and muscle strength improve, as well, which reduces the odds you’ll catch a cold or get injured just before the race.
- You will not lose your fitness during the tapering period.
- If you do it properly you are likely to feel fresher on race day than you have ever felt.
What should you do during a taper (so you don’t go crazy)?
- Obsessively check the weather for race day.
- Plan your race outfit.
- Make sure you have the right fuel for the race.
- Check the race Web site for race-morning particulars such as start time, and work out the details of how you’ll get to the start on race day.
- Also check the race Web site for the course map and study it.
Back to my tapering.
I don’t feel like I need to taper because I really didn’t train hard.
Most of my long runs were interrupted by a race.
This taper will be an easy one since the forecast is for rain everyday. I hate to run in the rain and I’m not a fan of treadmills.
Happy Running! What are your thoughts about tapering?