The Treatment Lab

What is the Marathon Taper?

23rd March 2018


What is the marathon taper?  What should you be doing during the taper?

The taper is an important part of any training plan. It allows your body recover in time before race day. It is the rest that is just as important as the miles. Your body can repair, reducing injury risk. Some plans have a 4 week taper, most have 3 weeks, and some have 2 weeks. Whichever one your plan includes, the principal is the same.  Our tips below are based on a 3 week taper.

How does the taper affect your runs?

Your runs should still be as frequent and the intensity the same, but your longer runs should reduce mileage. In the first week of taper, your weekly mileage should reduce by around 15-20%. Most of this reduction will be on your long run.

In week 2 of taper, your mileage should reduce by around 35% of your longest run week.  Again, most of this will be achieved by shortening the long run.

In the final week of taper, only 2-3 short runs are needed as you lead up to race day!  Practice running at marathon pace, so that you can tune in to your required pace.

What else should you be doing during the taper?

A Sports Massage can also help with muscle recovery, and it can help with any niggles that you might have. If you are using a 3 week taper, a massage after you longest run is recommended, with a pre race massage in the week of the marathon.

Sleep! Make sure you get enough sleep each night. Your body will recover whilst sleeping. You may even start dreaming of running!

Eat healthy. Your diet should be balanced to help with recovery. You should also start to consume a little more carbohydrate in the few days leading up to the marathon- but be careful not to over do it! You also need protein and fats, but a slightly higher amount of carbohydrate. Carbohydrate should make up approximately 70% of your intake in the few days before the marathon.

Hydrate. You should remain well hydrated each day. Dehydration will have a negative impact on performance of runs, and you want each mile to count on your training runs.

Plan ahead. Use the extra time to plan the marathon- both pre race logistics, but also the race itself. What is your planned pace? What is the course? What nutrition will you be taking during the race (you should have already tried any products during your long training runs). If you are targeting a time, what is your pacing strategy?



Enjoy the taper, and good luck on race day!


Remember- everyone is different, and all injuries are different.  This article is for information only and does not constitute advice for your injury.  You should consult a qualified therapist to accurately diagnose and treat your injury.  You can book in with one of our experts at The Treatment Lab by calling us on 01908 766425.

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