Dread it? Love it? Hate to love it?
Many runners dread the taper, fearing they will lose some of their fitness gains, endurance or speed by easing up on their training.
Myself? I'm a fan.
What's to love about the Taper? Lots of things!
A lot of runners enter the Taper exhausted and (often times) anxious. Not me. I welcome it with open arms! Even if I don't feel as completely trained as I'd prefer, when Taper arrives I know there isn't adequate time to do more. For me, that's actually comforting.
The length of taper can vary from runner to runner, and it usually depends on the distance of the designated race. For example, a 5K may not require much of a taper for a casual runner. An experienced elite runner, though, who has put in all kinds of intense speed work, may need a greater rest period. The same goes for a half marathon vs. a full marathon...usually the full marathon will demand a longer taper period (due to the increased distance from the training runs during that final peak month). Usually, after that peak month, the runner's body will be craving some focused rest and recovery time.
It's not a time for sitting idle, though. There still are some short runs, and maybe some medium-distanced ones as well. Long runs? That's going to depend on the individual runner, their race distance and what their particular race day goals are....but it may be in one's best interest to go conservative on "long" runs in the final 2-3 weeks leading up to a race.
Finally, the Taper is the perfect chance to look back at what you've accomplished. Tally up all those miles run, review your training log, and congratulate yourself for all the hours you've sacrificed to get to the start line.
What are your thoughts? Do you look forward to the Taper? Or does it bring on the start of race day anxiety?
I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up
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