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  • Writer's pictureLouise Acher

Marathon Runners - Taper and Prep Time

As an experienced marathon runner, I wanted to share with you my tips for Tapering which is still a big part of training for a marathon. If you are reading this it’s probably because you are tapering ready for maybe The London or The Manchester Marathon and you may already be ‘climbing the walls’, Am I right?

So why do we taper? Surely, we should be continuing to put those long runs into our now tired but strong legs!

  • We taper because we need to allow our bodies to rest both physically and mentally to prepare for the big day ahead.

  • We have done our longest run and all the training. Now we can relax and begin to fuel whilst we rest.

  • It’s good to keep the muscles moving and carry on with some shorter distances leading up to 3 or 4 days before the Marathon.

  • The week before, the longest run should be no more than 10 miles/16km.

  • Begin to fuel and hydrate up to 3 days before the Marathon – think about more carbohydrates and protein. The carbs will give you energy and the protein will help the muscles to repair and recover from all the training.

  • Wear the kit you will wear on race day for a couple of training runs so that your skin can get used to it and then avoid the dreaded chaffing on the day. This will also make you feel mentally ready and know if the kit is right for you.

  • If you haven’t already, make sure the fuel you take on the day whether its gels, energy blocks or simple jelly babies, try them out on a local training run so that your body gets used to the taste and digestion of them. The last thing you want is to have an upset tummy during the Marathon.

  • Take time for yourself and treat yourself to a sports massage a few days prior to Marathon day. Sports massage will also help the muscles recover and get them ready for the big day, it will relax the muscles so they are fresh and raring to go on race day.

  • Get plenty of sleep, as the day draws nearer, adrenaline will start to kick in as well as nervous energy which sometimes causes us to sleep less.

  • Prepare everything you need for the day the night before – get the bib number on your running top. Have all your kit and equipment ready and have an early night.

  • I always write a check list so I don’t forget anything. Plan your journey and give yourself plenty of time to arrive to your starting time.

  • Tell all your friends and family what you are doing – their support and encouragement will give you positive energy leading up to the big day. Let them know your race number so they can track you virtually.

  • Stay fit and healthy – keep exercising gently and eat healthily.

  • Be proud of yourself and believe in yourself it is one of the biggest achievements in anyone’s life. Enjoy the day, get to the finish line and pick up the well-deserved bling of a medal.

  • Give yourself the next day off and treat yourself to a post marathon sports massage it will be the best way to help the muscles recover quicker with less aches and pain.

Good luck and enjoy what I call the biggest street party there is!


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