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Tapering Before a Race

Runners train hard to prepare for a race, and it is likely that during their training they haven't given their bodies sufficient rest. This means they may run the race with tired bodies and won't have maximum performance. To give their bodies extra rest before a race, runners usually reduce or taper their training during the week(s) before a race.

A Taper, a Taper, My Kingdom for a Taper

In choosing how much taper to have, runners must make that choice wisely, because too long of a taper may mean that the runners lose conditioning and too short of a taper may mean the runners are still tired when they begin the race. Generally speaking, the longer the race, the longer the taper. Runners typically taper for three weeks before a marathon and only for a week before a 5K and maybe a week and a half before a 10K.

Ok, How Much Taper?

General recommendations are for a 40-60% reduction in distance. Older folks may need more reduction. In my case, I usually taper my runs by about 75% because I'm older and need more rest.

Well, What Do I Taper?

In tapering their training, runners gradually reduce the distance they run but not the intensity. That is, runners might still do speed work or hills during the taper, but for shorter distances or shorter time.

How Do I Handle Feelings of Restlessness During My Taper

Feelings of restlessness are normal. We want to run, run, run, train, train, train, and it is hard to do less of that and not feel guilty. We're all different in how we handle these feelings. In my case, I look forward to the taper and really enjoy the shorter runs and the rest I'm getting.

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