Tapering for a marathon

How long should you taper for the marathon? When should you start the tapering? What is tapering?

Every marathon runner should include tapering for their marathon preparation. WHY? Physiological adaptation will take at least 6 weeks so there’s much you can do anymore for your fitness during the tapering period. However doing too much can instead ruin your running performance. So, what tapering means and when to start it? Tapering means reduced training load, more recovery, sleep, and proper nutrient rich food. It recommended start tapering 3 weeks before marathon, I’ll break down basic guideline about the tapering below.

Runners are often scared to reduce training, fearing of the reduce of performance. But tapering doesn’t mean massive reduce and it doesn’t last long enough to make any impact to performance level. Best way to reduce training load is the reduce mileage/amount of kilometers. There are runners whose feels that they lost sensitivity and touch of running if they take several days off from running, this is not necessary. Reducing the training will keep the balance between performance level and fresh body, as there are not fatigue from training.
Also tapering doesn’t mean that you can stop training entirely for the last two to three weeks. By doing that it sure you will lose the sensitivity for running and your performance level will drop. Actually, tapering it’s only slight decrease of training.

Three weeks before marathon:
Reduce your mileage 15%, maintaining the intensity. Make a reduction from mileage, cut the long run length. Do the speed workout, but you don’t have to give all you have. Think this more like your easy week during normal training program.

Two weeks before marathon:
Reduce your mileage 30%. Reduce intensity, you can still make speed workout, but less intense. Don’t run long run anymore. Reduce each runs mileage, and take it easy.

Final week:
Reduce your mileage 50-60%, this doesn’t include marathon. You can do one very easy speed workout, but maintain easiness and lightness in your training. If you feel fatigue, reduce training more. You should feel well rested and relaxed. Make short and easy run day before the marathon (5km/3miles or less).

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