As marathon day approaches and you start tapering, you might start feeling that you are not as prepared as you thought you were.
You could start feeling sore, achy, or even sick – and this might have you thinking you are losing fitness.
With this in mind, you may be tempted to get back to full training, but do not listen to that voice. As long as you taper correctly, you should be fine on marathon day.
Marathon tapering is not as simple as it sounds. You can overdo it or do too little, and in either case, you most likely will not get the outcomes you want on marathon day. But this does not have to be the case.
With the marathon tapering tips we have for you below, you should be able to get through the days before your marathon just fine. Read on for more.
22 Marathon Tapering Tips
Reduce Your Running Volume
Of course, one of the primary tenets of marathon tapering is cutting down on training. So, as your marathon day approaches, reduce your running volume gradually.
You do not have to reduce your running speed. But you can reduce how long you run at such speeds.
If you typically run 5 x 1k (five one-kilometer-long runs), you can bring it down to 2-3 x 1k or lower. The goal is to maintain your speed while avoiding exhaustion.
Remove Risky Routines
If your regular workout sessions include some risky routines, the tapering period is the time to remove those routines. You do not want to pick up an injury close to race day.
Try to Maintain Some Speed Running
In many cases, runners can keep some fast running routines in their workouts.
Of course, such fast running routines should be controlled. You could do them in predetermined intervals. This way, you won’t work your body up.
By maintaining some fast running routines in your workouts, you retain some spring in your movement. If you only run slowly, you may start feeling heavy and slow.
But with the fast-running exercises, your legs will remain nimble.
Do Some Race-Pace Running
Get your body used to the race pace you have planned. Doing this during marathon tapering is particularly beneficial because you have fresh and rested legs.
Get your race pace right so you will not start the marathon at full force. As you know, starting a marathon at full speed can set the rest of your race off course.
Keep Running at Your Usual Frequency
While we are all for reducing the volume and intensity of your workout, maintain your frequency. If you cut down on how often you run, you may feel slower on the marathon day.
Your body will appreciate you sticking to the familiar routine. Besides, if you are not leaving unusual gaps between your runs, you won’t have time to overthink and feel nervous.
Try Not to Compare Yourself With Others
Your mind may wander to how much others have done to prepare for the marathon. But you should not dally on such thoughts.
You should be the center of your thoughts. Worrying about what others have done will create unnecessary tension and waste your energy.
Do Things That Relieve Your Stress
You don’t want any physical or psychological stress on race day. So, part of your marathon tapering should include relaxing activities.
Do things that make you calm. You could try reading your favorite books, doing yoga, listening to music, or even cooking.
Even work-related stress can hamper your preparation. During your tapering period, ensure you minimize your exposure to stress at work.
Do Not Overanalyze the Situation
It is common for runners to expect their tapering sessions to feel as exhilarating as their regular sessions. But things do not always work that way.
If the tapering does not feel so good, even with its lower intensity, accept how it feels.
Also, do not try to foresee the outcome of the marathon based on your tapering sessions.
Raise Your Confidence
Your marathon tapering sessions should improve your confidence.
Maintain Your Fitness Level
Do not try to raise your fitness close to marathon day. Instead, reserve your energy. Maintain the fitness level you’ve attained thus far.
Trying to optimize your routine for more fitness is pretty risky. If you get an injury, you may just be out of the race altogether – all your efforts would be wasted.
Be More Responsive
The marathon tapering period is not the time to be rigid.
If you need to rest more, do that. If you need to spend less time resting, do so. Just do not push yourself too hard or do anything risky.
Do Not Try to Create New Routines
As we have implied a few times already, do not create new routines during the marathon tapering sessions.
Athletes are generally creatures of habit. Their bodies adapt to the routines they are most familiar with.
No matter what you do during marathon tapering, ensure it all feels natural.
Do not force any new workout patterns. Just go with what your body accepts as regular and be consistent.
Boost Your Energy Levels
You can achieve this by eating healthy foods, getting more sleep, and spending less time on your feet. Essentially, just do less of what can leave you feeling drained.
You Could Get a Massage
To further relax your mind and improve your physical well-being, you can get a massage during the marathon tapering period.
Drinking a lot of electrolytes and water in the days leading up to the marathon can do you a lot of good.
Rehydrating with electrolytes can help your muscles recover faster and better. Doing this will also keep your body in top condition as you prepare for the race.
Expect Low Moments
Even though marathon tapering is less intense than your regular training, there is a chance of you having low moments.
The workouts may become more challenging than you expect, and you may even start doubting your fitness. But remain confident and do not doubt your fitness. Such low moments are not unusual.
Do Gentle Stretches Everyday
You can do gentle stretches every day for a few minutes.
The stretches will help loosen your muscles and relax your body. But apart from that, stretching will help prime your body for the long distance.
Besides stretching, you can incorporate foam rolling into your marathon tapering period. However, avoid lifting weights.
Adjust Your Diet Accordingly
In the days leading up to your race, tweak your diet.
Three days before the race, reduce fatty, fibrous, and protein-rich food. Make your meals mostly of carbs. You can increase your carb intake by 25% each day.
Go Over Your Plans and Training
Go through your plans and training, review them, and work through the logistics. You want to ensure that everything you need is in place and that you are fully prepared.
Visualize Your Success at the Race
Envisioning yourself at the race helps with your preparation and confidence.
Tell yourself positive things to get yourself pumped for the race. Remind yourself of how hard you’ve worked for the race through the months. Tell yourself you have done enough to deserve success.