Tapering for a Half-Marathon, for peak performance

The last stop in the training journey. Αnd, before the goal race there is, of course, the tapering period. When it comes to tapering for a half-marathon, this phase in training helps athletes reach the peak of their athletic condition, if done successfully. As a result, they’re more likely to perform to the maximum of their potential, on the day of the race.

For a coach, when designing a macrocycle, setting up a tapering training plan is probably the most difficult task. Why? Because, it requires to possess good knowledge of the athlete; and, to be able to adapt to the athlete’s previous training process.

In our previous article, “Tapering for a Marathon and how to do it right“, we wrote about a few general tips for creating a successful tapering training format. In this article, we’ll try to delve into tapering for a Half-Marathon event. So, let’s get started!

Tapering for a half-marathon — a guide for coaches

Deciding on the duration of the tapering phase

The first thing an endurance coach should consider regarding a Half-Marathon tapering training program, is its duration. Typically, a coach decides on it during the creation of the macrocycle; however, it’s not that uncommon for the tapering duration to change, following the course of the whole training program.

Be that as it may, when tapering for a Half-Marathon event, the recommended duration seems to be 2-3 weeks. This is because the miles/kilometers the athlete has to cover during the race are evidently much less than a Marathon distance. Therefore, during the training process, the total volume of tapering does not increase that much.

Reducing intensity

Also, the duration of tapering depends a lot on when the coach will decide to reduce the intensity of the training. In general, the total volume of training decreases per week; from 60-80% during the first week to 40-50% of total mileage during the next. 

On top of that, high-intensity workouts need to be reduced accordingly. For this reason, the tapering phase usually begins either after a long run (approximately 15,5 mi/25 km) or a high-intensity, long-duration workout; for example, 10 sets of 1093,6yd/1000m, at race pace. Physiologically speaking, that’s how the coach provides the athlete’s body with efficient stimulus. Afterwards, as a corollary, necessary adaptations take place in the formation phase.

Keeping nutrition and hydration a priority, when tapering for a half-marathon

So far, we’ve discussed important details, regarding proper tapering for a Half-marathon. Yet, what’s equally important — throughout the tapering period, and in the last phase of training — is your diet.

Nowadays, there are several nutrition programs an athlete can follow; not only to replenish muscle glycogen reserve, but also, hydrate well, and get all the necessary electrolytes, and trace elements.

During the formation, therefore, it is recommended to increase the intake of carbohydrates; about 3-5 grams per one pound of body weight. Another important factor for a balanced nutrition plan is the intake of protein. The latter is responsible for the healing of muscle injuries, incurred during the training process. Keep in mind, your athlete needs approximately 1.4-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight. 

Finally, do not forget hydration! If anything, you must not get to the point of feeling thirsty; which obviously means that you’re already dehydrated. Instead, always carry a bottle of fresh water with you — alternatively, an electrolyte beverage; and, drink at regular intervals.

Tapering with a coach, for peak performance

As we’ve mentioned, time and again, the whole training process needs to be based on each athlete’s unique physiological profile and previous training; as well as their individual needs, and goals. And, as the training plan needs to be different for every athlete, so does the tapering phase; which, at the end of the day, is catalytic for optimal performance at the race. This is why every training approach should be processed and planned by an experienced endurance coach; that is, to ensure that you will perform optimally on the race day.

Tapering with Endogusto

Tapering for a Half-Marathon, for peak performance was last modified: July 27th, 2022 by Marilena Kokkinou