Less than 10 days to go….

I am fully aware that taper time varies between athletes, this is just from my experience. With the London marathon approaching for those runners that have hopefully been training the last months for, I hope this comes in useful.

A ‘taper’ is the period just before your race – whatever it might be – where you train less and less so that you arrive at said race as fresh as possible. The time required to taper correctly varies not only between different people but also for different race distances or pace. However, for distances of a marathon or above this is what I would do. Please note, this articles is realistically about 2 weeks late!

Hopefully with just under a week to go, you have already started to decrease your training load. If not then do so now. Effectively what you want to do is gradually reduce it over a 2 week period in order to let your body recover from what should have been a fairly hard training month. You may well have found it in your training when you had a week off and came back feeling fitter and faster than ever…even though you hadn’t actually done any exercise in that week. Rest is key.

The big problem, (well it isn’t that big, but it might make a difference) is that people just stop running for 2 weeks. I have always found it much better to carry on with very light training at a decent pace. This helps to keep the legs moving so that you do not actually lose any fitness. Hopefully by now you will be fit enough so that going on a 10k run is not going to kill your legs for a week. If it is then I would not only be worried about the 26.2 miles you need to run in a week, but I would also refrain from much running during your taper!
Furthermore nutrition in this period (as always) is essential. IF you haven’t done so already, stop drinking for this last week, cut out any cigarettes and pizza. Drink lots of water and get prepared. This week is all about getting maximum recovery before the big day. Loads of sleep.

Finally, enjoy yourself. Have fun in the sun if it ever appears although stay away from any aggressive football matches because the last thing you want to do is twist an ankle.
Relax, watch some films, eat well, go for a few light runs and chill. Come Sunday it will be time to go fast again….

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