I have run a few marathons and so I thought I would give you a few tips on tapering and why we should taper before running a marathon. If you’re planning to run The London or the Manchester Marathon in the next few weeks, then by now you will be tapering and possibly going crazy waiting for the big day! These tips should help you to fill the rest time and gather everything you need for race day.
What is tapering?
Tapering is still a big part of the marathon training plan, it’s the time after our longest run.
Here we begin to rest, slow down a little and let our bodies prepare physically and mentally for the 26.2m/42km we are about to put ourselves through.
Tapering time is when we need fuel and hydrate our bodies, get more sleep and look after our joints and muscles after all the hard work they have done.
This does not mean rest completely, we still need to keep the muscles moving with gentle exercise and less shorter runs up until 3-4 days before the Marathon.
Distances will get shorter and there will be more gaps between training runs. Rest is really important here, its give time for the muscles to repair and recover.
Begin to take in more energy by taking on more carbohydrates and protein as well as keeping well hydrated up to 3 days before the Marathon – The carbs will give you energy and the protein will help the muscles to repair and recover from all the training.
Kit – yes kit we often forget to think about it until the night before the Marathon. I suggest wearing the kit you will wear for the marathon on a couple of training runs so your skin can get used to the material and that way chaffing can be avoided. If you do suffer from chaffing – Vaseline is always helpful to prevent it.
If you haven’t already, make sure the fuel you take on the day whether its gels, energy blocks or simple jelly babies, try them out on a local training run so that your body gets used to the taste and digestion of them. The last thing you want is to have an upset tummy during the Marathon.
Give yourself ‘You time’ and book a sports massage a few days prior to Marathon day. Sports massage will help the muscles recover and get them ready for the big day, whilst also relaxing the muscles so they are fresh and raring to go on race day.
Sleep – we need plenty of sleep, as the day draws nearer, adrenaline will start to kick in as well as nervous energy which sometimes causes us to sleep less.
Be prepared – get everything ready the night before – attach your race number onto the front of your running top. Have all your kit and equipment ready and have an early night.
I always write a check list so I don’t forget anything. Plan your journey and give yourself plenty of time to arrive to the start line.
Tell all your friends and family what you are doing – their support and encouragement will give you positive energy leading up to the big day. Let them know your race number so they can track you virtually.
Stay fit and healthy – keep exercising gently and eat healthily. Be proud and believe in yourself, you have got this. Take it all in, one foot in front of the other, remember all the hard work is done now just get to the finish line and pick up the well-deserved medal.
And when its all over, take the next day off and treat yourself to a post marathon sports massage it’s the best way to help the muscles recover quicker with less pain and aches.
Good luck and enjoy what I call the biggest street party there is.
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