Tapering for a Marathon and how to do it right

As we often mention, a Marathon race requires dedication, determination, and discipline. Hence, we can say with certainty that the most important factor for a successful finish is the “journey”; rather than the race itself, as a “destination”. Naturally, this “journey” is no other than the preparation — the training period. Yet, there is a critical phase, in the last stage of this “journey”, when the athlete is slowing things down; in other words, tapering for a Marathon race. 

What is tapering?

Tapering is the period in which (ideally) the coach gradually reduces the volume and intensity of training; that is, until the day of the goal-race. It goes without saying, tapering is key for the athlete to achieve the best performance possible, on the day of the race.

Taper right — get yourself a coach

The pre-race formulation allows the athlete to be at peak athletic condition and perform to the maximum, on the race day. However, to achieve this, the entire training process — especially the technique of the athlete — needs to be executed under the training guidance of a specialized endurance coach. This way, not only does the athlete improve their performance, but also avoids fatigue and injuries.

4 key parameters to keep in mind, when tapering for a Marathon race

Tapering for a Marathon is characterized by a few key parameters that differ from athlete to athlete. That’s why we believe that the contribution of a specialized coach in the training process will make all the difference. Below, we’ll touch on these parameters, and a few things to keep in mind for optimal tapering.

1. Tapering period

According to the scientific bibliography, the tapering period ranges from one to six weeks. Nonetheless, the option to start tapering three weeks before the target race seems to prevail.

2. Training volume

As any coach worth their salt would say, one of the most basic components in training is the reduction of training volume. Be that as it may, this reduction has to be done gradually, per week. Mind you, training reduction also affects long runs.

3. Intensity of training

At this point, the athlete has to address the intensity of training, in a likewise manner. Of course, this does not mean they’ll stop executing high-intensity workouts; but, as the total volume is reduced, bit by bit, each week, high-intensity training needs to be gradually reduced, too.

4. Nutrition

Finally, we must highlight the importance of balanced nutrition, and good hydration, when tapering for a Marathon. Don’t forget, you’re a breath away from your target race! Thus, you must keep your body well-hydrated, full of electrolytes, and enough muscle glycogen reserves, to give you the energy you need. Again, to keep your nutrition in check, you should follow your coach’s nutritional advice; alternatively, you can consult a professional nutritionist.

Trust in your coach!

Tapering for a Marathon is one of the most important phases of the preparation for the race. At any rate, tapering requires precision, and focus. Furthermore, it needs to be seamlessly implemented in the whole training process, to ensure optimal performance. All in all, if we were to offer honest advice in your training journey, it would definitely be to trust in your coach; and, of course, follow through with your training plan. Focus on the goal, stick to the aforementioned tips, and you’ll do great ✌!

Do it better, with Endogusto

Tapering for a Marathon and how to do it right was last modified: July 27th, 2022 by Marilena Kokkinou