Some runners struggle with their taper schedule more than their training schedule. Exactly what is tapering? Tapering is a way of easing up on training just before a race to make sure you’re well-rested and your body is ready to take on the challenge of your race. Some research shows that tapering is effective for races of any length, even 5ks. It’s good to have a specific plan in mind of how to taper for your race.
Tapering for the 5K
Cut your normal mileage in half the week before race day, but maintain some intensity. Early in the week, run 4 x 400 meters at your 5K goal pace. Add in a 200-meter jog between repeats. Toward the end of the week, jog two miles, then run 6 or 8 x 100-meter strides at about 90 percent of your maximum speed.
Tapering for the quarter marathon
For the quarter, do the same as the 5K, but run your 400-meter repeats at your goal pace.
Tapering for the half-marathon
Tapering for a half marathon is best to begin about two weeks before the race. You want to run 75% of your normal mileage the first week. Run 4 x 800 meters at your 10K race pace with a 400-meter jog between repeats.
The last three to four days before the race and especially the day before, follow a good diet and make sure to drink plenty of water.
Limit your consumption of alcohol and avoid foods that are high in fat or fiber, gas-producing, spicy or unfamiliar. Eat light the night before, consuming no more than 1,000 calories.
Research shows that people who eat 500 to 1,000 calories a few hours before a marathon perform better, so grab a snack 2-4 hours before your race.
We hope you have a great last few days of training, and we can’t wait to see you at the finish line! For last-minute questions, ask us on our Facebook page.