Performing at your best on race day relies on many factors, some of which are controllable, and others that unfortunately are not. Training plays an important role in getting you mentally and physically prepared to race.
However, it’s essential to back off your training leading up to key events to ensure you’re well rested and ready to race fast – this is known as tapering.
We’ve got 3 quick ways to perfect your taper:
#1 Reduce your mileage
Your total weekly mileage and long run distance should reduce over the final few weeks before race day. It’s still important to maintain consistency (frequency) and intensity, but volume (distance) should decrease.
#2 Find the right taper length
Generally, longer events require a longer taper. If you’re running a half marathon you can do your longest run two weeks prior to race day. Half marathoners ideally should aim for a long run of 16-18 km, but again many runners will train in excess of the race distance. Your long runs should always be at a relaxed and easy pace – do not try to test your staying power in training. Running too quickly will significantly increase injury risk and not allow you to recover properly for your other training sessions. Running a hard 10km 2 weeks out can be a good idea to prepare for the stresses of race day, but you need to allow proper recovery time.
#3 Sharpen 2 weeks out
The final 2 weeks are all about sharpening and peaking for race day. Running a short, hard session 2 weeks out is ideal, whilst your speed session during race week should be run at your goal race pace – great for confidence and familiarity.
Emily Donker, Podiatrist at intraining Running Centre.
REMEMBER – everyone responds differently to training and tapering. Some people require a longer taper than others, and some people drop their mileage more than others. If you are wondering what is best for you, ask one of our intraining running coaches at your next session or book an appointment to have your training plan reviewed or tweaked by one of the intraining coaching team here.