Taper week, or weeks, can be challenging. You’ll feel stir crazy without your normal work load. Your legs will feel weak, maybe even jelly like. You’ll be exercising and eating less to maintain your ideal race weight. The taper crazies are a marathon staple and while they’re almost unavoidable, you can use these tips from Team ECRP to keep them at bay the best you can.
Get intense. Running fast is fun. Speed work should always be a part of your training plan and the week before your goal race is time to ramp it up. You’ll decrease your overall training load but more workouts will include serious speed and intensity. That means more fun.
Stay calm. It sounds silly but staying relaxed during the days leading up to your race is very important. You want to keep sleep quality high, stress low and your diet the same. Develop a flexible plan for race day that accounts for potential weather, parking and clothing mishaps. The more prepared you are the less likely you are to let something get in the way of your performance.
Trust the plan. You’ve put in the work. By the time taper week comes around any workout you do won’t give you major gains anyway. While that increased intensity will help get your nervous system in order, it can take up to six weeks for other workouts to have measurable benefits. Believe in the work you’ve done.
Find an alternative. With all the extra taper week non-workout time you’ll have, grab that book you’ve been looking at longingly for the last 10-15 weeks. Binge watch that show you’ve been hearing about (we might recommend Game of Thrones).
The two most important things during taper week, however, are to keep focused on your goal and trust your training.