With the Marine Corp Marathon and 10K just 11 days out (eek) tapering becomes a hot topic. Finally you actually have time to rest! Or do you?
Tapering refers to a reduction in training prior to competition or race. Tapering can last anywhere from a few days up to 3 weeks depending on the type of athlete you are, your overall experience with racing, and the distance of the race/event. Tapering might entail a decrease in mileage, change in intensity or a change in duration. Again, tapering depends on the experience and training of the athlete.
Common questions you might have about tapering. When do I start? I didn’t get all my training in so do I need to taper? How do I taper? Does tapering really help? After weeks and months of building mileage and pushing your body, you need to give it time to reboot and recover and tapering does just that.
Regardless of how your MCM training has gone and what type of athlete you are remember these important things:
- Physiological adaptations to training take a minimum of six weeks. Therefore, training hard during the final two to three weeks before your marathon is not going to improve your performance. In fact research shows, doing too much while in the taper period can inhibit your marathon performance.
- Tapering properly means cutting your weekly mileage volume by 20 to 30 percent each week from your highest volume week, for three weeks. For example, if your highest mileage week was 40 miles, you would cut your mileage by 8 to 12 miles. Week 1 of your taper would then be 28 to 32 miles.
Putting it all into practice truly depends on you. If you already have a coach or a team simply follow their advice. If you have followed a training routine before then stick to it. But what should you do with that extra time? Emphasize sleep, stretching, foam rolling, get a massage, hydrate, consume a balanced and happy diet. Visualize how great it’s going to feel to run your race, as this has been shown to have a positive impact on performance. Regardless of what happens on race day you have put in the sweat and training so enjoy it. You will be running with thousands of your closest friends amongst many who have served or are actively serving. It’s going to be awesome and inspiring.
If you have any questions about tapering or want some help after the race BDI can help. We’re an integrated health care center offering PT, MT, small group classes, personal training and counseling. We offer running assessments too!
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