Tuesdays on the Run: Tapering

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs hosts Tuesdays on the Run with April @ Run the great wide somewhere and Patty @ My no-guilt life!

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.
  • Relax!!

Back to my tapering.

I don’t feel like I need to taper because I really didn’t train hard.

10 mile training

13 mile week included my only uninterrupted long run of 8.5 miles

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?



7 thoughts on “Tuesdays on the Run: Tapering

  1. Have a great 10 miler! I love that distance and wish there were more around here. Other than possibly reduce my long run, I don’t really taper for anything less than a full marathon. Whoops.


  2. I’m unusual; I love the taper! I’m usually tired & ready to relax. Course I didn’t want to taper like I have for this race!

    Obsessively check weather? Yeah, baby!

    Study the race course? Sometimes; sometimes not.

    Since I travel for my halfs, there’s also getting everything together for the animals, packing, cleaning house . . . it’s never relaxing. Usually I try to get there a couple of days before the race so I can finally relax!


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