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Taper Top Training Tips

Taper (Final few weeks) Training Tips brought to you by Helen, The Cheesecake Runner

Go to the bottom of the page and work up for the final few weeks tips from Helen.

It's Race Week!


It’s race week!  If Richmond Runfest is your first race then you might be suffering from race week nerves.

We all do.  It doesn’t matter whether Richmond Runfest is your first or your fortieth race, race week nerves are real.  If you’re catastrophising, coming up with all the calamities that could befall you on race day you’re not alone.

My advice is to try to relax, stay calm, and get as much sleep this week as you can.

You’ve done all the training you need.  That niggle your worried about, it’s all in your head … And you’re going to run on the day just fine!

Marathon & Half

You’re running the marathon on Sunday, so it’s time to carb load and think about you what you eat before your race.

To have your best run, you need to make sure your body’s carbohydrate stores are full before the race by carb loading this week (from Thursday) and eating a carb-based meal the night before.

To get carb loading right switch your meals to being high carb and low protein and fat, rather than loading up your plate with piles of pasta.

That way you only increase the size of your plate slightly so you don’t CALORIE OVERLOAD.  Think Italian style pasta, where sauce is streaked through, rather than British meat loaded spag bol!

You got this!

Helen, The Cheesecake Runner

W/C 2nd September

Keep Focused through Taper right until Race Day

With less than 2 weeks to go until race day if you’re running the marathon or half now’s the time to be tapering (which involves gradually reducing your mileage to allow your body to recover from training).

You’ve done the hard work, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back and eat donuts!

Read my top 3 taper tips to make sure you stay on track through the next few weeks.

You got this!

Helen x

Taper Tip #1: Focus your diet to avoid putting on (more) weight through taper

Have you put on weight over summer and whilst training for your race?  If you’ve put on a few pounds you’re not alone.  Eating right through the holidays and getting your diet right whilst training for a marathon or half is so, so difficult.

But now you’re in taper (cutting down your weekly mileage) not tuning up your diet could be ‘dangerous’ for your waist-line too!  Keep piling up your plate with pasta or carb loading on Cadburys, Haribo and cake and you’ll be pilling on the pounds before you race.

Taper is a great time to get a grip with your diet and give your body the good nutrition it needs to recover and repair from the efforts, stresses and strains you’ve been putting it under for the past few weeks training for your race.

My tips to stay trim during taper are:

  • Curb the extra carbs
  • Load up on fruit and veg
  • And eat a little more meat or veggie protein to repair your worked and tired body.

Taper Tip #2:  Don’t push too hard with other activities or sports

Tapering is great!  All that time you’ve spent running freed up.  But watch out, after a few days lots of people get itchy feet.  It’s so tempting during taper to replace your running with other hard-core workouts or adding in other cardio to get your calorie burn fix.

Before you do, remember that taper is the time for your body to recover and repair from your training exertions over the past few months. If you replace hard core running with even harder-core HIIT or take yourself off for a 50 mile bike ride to give yourself the ‘weekend-burn’ you’re so used to you’re not tapering!

I’ve done it too.  Only to end up with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that took days to recover from.

There will be plenty of time to rediscover your other fitness passions. But right now, it’s TAPER TIME … follow your plan, reduce your mileage and allow your body to recovery.

Taper Tip #3 Don’t push hard with training right up to your race

Are you ACTUALLY following your plan?  Or did you add in extra miles, runs and workouts?

Take a look at your plan.  Over the next few weeks the miles you’ll be covering and the workouts you’ll run will reduce, right at the time you’re hitting peak fitness.

It can be tempting to keep pushing, keep proving to yourself that you’re fitter and faster than you’ve ever been by bashing out longer and faster runs than are in your plan.  But there’s a reason that your plan cuts miles and minutes … You need fresh legs for your race!

Follow these 3 taper tips and you’ll arrive at race day fresh and ready to run.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been helping runners prepare for autumn races with Prepare to Race coaching calls, which have included help with keeping on track with taper, as well as carb loading and ‘no stress’ get ready and prepared for race day.  PM Cheesecake Runner if you’d like a chat to help with your final race day prep.

You got this!

Helen, Cheesecake Runner

W/C 19th August

Tell Me About Taper – Marathon & Half

The count down to race-day has begun, so my thoughts are turning to taper and those critical final weeks of preparation for training.  

If you’ve been following a training plan for your race, trust your plan as it starts to ease up over the next few weeks and don’t go crazy and try to fit in one final leg busting long run during ‘taper’.  

During taper it can feel like resting is undoing all the good work you’ve put in over the past few months.  Relax!  Tapering, cutting back on mileage, is essential to ensure your body is well rested, fuelled and ready to go on race day.  

The reduced mileage taper period can look like a great opportunity to catch up on a few missed workouts. DONT!  Pushing too hard in this period could result in injury or you not being fully rested on race day.

It’s essential that you give your body every opportunity to rest, recover and prepare during taper.  So make sure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep every night.  

During taper, and especially the week before your race, your mileage will be dropping and so will the calories you burn each day.  Listen to your body, and eat appropriately.

Click here to join the Richmond Run Club Facebook group and ask Helen any question you may have on tapering.