Marathon Tapering

For all you marathons runners out there, the end is in sight. You will have completed your long runs, the endless hours of training, running in the wind, rain, snow, fighting off the cold, numb fingers, toes, will all be worth it. You’ll be starting to taper and be hoping that you stay fit, well and healthy until race day.

What to expect in the next few weeks:

  • You’re likely to feel anxious that you haven’t done enough training.

  • You must stick to your plan / listen to your trainer and don’t succumb to any urges to sneak one last long run in. One extra run could mean you undo months of training. You have done all the hard work, now is the time to focus on keeping healthy, strong and your muscles intact.

  • Don’t suddenly introduce any new exercise regime into your training.

  • Don’t decide that a new pair of trainers are what you need to run a super speedy marathon.

  • Don’t buy any new gels / energy bars in the hope that they will make you run quicker.

In reality?

 Who cares what time you do it in, the fact that you have put yourself forward to complete a gruelling 26.2 mile course is enough in itself. Many of you will have experienced aches and pains, injuries, illness through-out the months of training, your confidence might have been knocked, you’ll be questioning can you do it, why are you the one that hasn’t had a smooth ride getting to the start line?

The facts are simple, we are not designed to run 26.2 miles, the stress and strain we put on our bodies during the training and the event itself is something really quite phenomenal. Not to mention the huge commitment it takes, the endless hours of training, long runs at the weekend, thinking about your diet, drinking and late nights aren’t a good combination throughout this time. You put your life on hold throughout the duration, your family and friends will become bored of your incessant marathon talk and probably won’t understand how it takes over your whole life, they won’t understand how a niggle can effect your mood, how your days are meticulously structured to fit in eating, sleeping, training, leaving room little room for anything else.

Over the next few weeks:

  • Allow yourself to rest, stretch. Understand that rest is equally important to training itself.

  • Ensure you are eating correctly, balanced healthy meals. Carb loading 4 days before race day is an option. I believe in listening to your body, eat if you feel hungry but don’t overeat and consume empty calories because you think you should be eating. You won’t be training as much as you have been and there can be a tendency to over-eat.

  • Remember that protein is equally as important in your diet as carbohydrates. It is needed to repair and strengthen your muscles.

  • Hydrate, this is just as important as your nutrition, ensure you’re drinking enough water so your urine is a light straw colour and you’re needing the loo every 2-3 hours.

You only have one body so respect it and it will respect you. Remember what you are doing really is an incredible achievement, no matter what the outcome you should be proud of yourself and enjoy the experience. Relish the atmosphere, the crowd and the support on the day, it really is quite extraordinary and something you’ll never forget. Fight all the temptations to train, run over the next few weeks, you’ll need all your energy for race day and it will also mean that on the morning of the marathon you’ll be all fired up and raring to go.


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