HOW TAPERING WILL PREPARE YOU FOR RACE DAY November 28, 2016 19:00
What You Need to Know About Tapering
Race season has begun and that means it’s time to plan for this valuable aspect of race preparation:
When your race is looming, it’s important to be prepared. Tapering is part of the training process and will help maximize your race day success.
What is Tapering?
Coach Jimmy Williams, a running and triathlon coach, puts tapering this way:
“Tapering is a gradual decrease in activity duration and intensity to ensure you are in prime condition come race day. Racing is the easy part. Training is the hard part. Training requires progressive loading and recovery cycles over weeks and sometimes months before a race. Tapering can be done as far out as three weeks and as little as three days depending on the race distance. When done correctly, tapering gives an athlete the best chance to earn a personal record at their race and avoid injury from over-training.”
How to Properly Taper For Your Race
Here’s a scenario:
Runner Ron’s next half marathon is two weeks away. In Ron’s training plan, he has scheduled workouts ranging from 5-10 miles all the way up to race day. How can Ron better prepare for a successful half marathon? Tapering! Ron can plan on decreasing his mileage prior to his half marathon.
Here are Coach Jimmy's suggestions for Ron:
Two weeks prior to his half marathon, Ron should look to decrease his weekly mileage by 20%. This means that Ron's long run should decrease from 10 miles to 8 miles, and each shorter run should also decrease accordingly. The week before the race, his long run should be no more than 6 miles. I would also tell Ron to not take the day off before the half marathon. We need to activate our muscles before a race rather than let them get stiff from inactivity. Ron should go out for an easy 2-mile run and throw in one or two short race-pace bursts that last for a minute or less.
What Are the Benefits of Tapering?
Tapering decreases the likelihood of injury. Rested, relaxed, and loosened muscles perform much better than tired muscles.
Over-exertion prior to a race, especially a half marathon, can cause your race day performance to suffer. Tapering guides your body through easy and light workouts, a process that will assist your body’s natural tendency to store up for race day.
The best benefit of all? Your full potential can be unleashed on the race course. Many athletes have seen better race times as a result of proper tapering.
Blogger Bria works at St. Pete Running Company as a customer service manager.