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Top Tips for Marathon Tapering

It’s that time of year again, marathon season!

Your marathon training has been going well, increasing the mileage, running on tired legs, speed sessions on the track, testing out new shoes, socks or other gadgets, but what about tapering?

Tapering is one of the most important parts of any training plan. Get it right and all that hard work will pay off, get it wrong and you may suffer on your big day. With the longest run of your training program complete City Jogging Tours are here to offer you some top tips to getting your taper just right!

We recommend beginning your taper a full three weeks before race day, starting the day after your last long run (around 20 miles for most people). Tapering for a marathon is a gradual process:

3 weeks to go:

  1. Reduce your weekly mileage to around 20 - 25% of your highest mileage week (using a fitness tracker such as Strava to log your weekly miles). The week before this will typically be your highest mileage week.

  2. If you've introduced speed work and hill reps into your marathon training, now’s the time to ease off of these, swapping faster runs for steadier sessions and hilly runs for relatively flat, easier routes, to allow some time for your muscles to recover and repair.

  3. The longer weekend run should be about the same intensity as your longest run (no faster, no slower), but we recommend reducing this to 12-15 miles.

  4. Start to think about what nutrition you will be taking on race day (Runners Need have a great selection of nutrition belts and gel options, but make sure you test them out before race day).

2 weeks to go:

  1. Reduce your weekly mileage to around 50% of your highest mileage week.

  2. Almost all of your running should be slow and steady, with no strenuous efforts, speed work or hill training!

  3. The long run this week should be in the range of 8-10 miles. Some people use this run as an opportunity to do a couple of miles at planned marathon pace, but this should be limited to a few miles only.

  4. While your mileage may be reducing, you will still need to keep those calories coming in! Your body needs time to repair tissue damaged during your mileage build-up.

1 week to go - marathon week:

  1. No runs longer than 4 miles!

  2. Running this week is mostly for mental preparation not physical, so don't be tempted to push the pace just because it’s a ‘short’ run.

  3. If you're feeling sluggish, try adding some 100m strides into a few of your short runs this week, but nothing more.

  4. Prepare your kit for race day – as a general rule of thumb, do not try anything new on race day that you haven't tried out on a practice run. This also applies to race nutrition too!

Looking to run some of the London marathon route while tapering?

Contact our team today - we'll guide you through part of this iconic marathon route while offering you more personalised tapering tips!

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