Sunday, March 16, 2008


Extracted and modified from Marathon Training.

Many runners fail to realize that one of the most important aspects of marathon training is the taper phase. Tapering refers to the practice of reducing or tapering off exercises, days or weeks before a competition, stating longer endurance events requires longer tapering phases. Typically, tapering for relatively short endurance events takes as little as a week or less, but tapering for an event like the marathon takes at least two or three weeks. Medical studies shows that the final three weeks of any marathon-training program are the most critical stage of training; a review of fifty studies on tapering indicates that optimal levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones, which are significantly depleted by intense endurance training, are achieved during a taper. Here are a few basic steps to taper.

- Reduce the distance and intensity of your training runs during the tapering phase prior to the marathon, eliminating long and hard efforts.

- Listen to your body. Remember, there are no workouts the week prior to the marathon that will enhance your preparedness for the race. An important rule of thumb is "Less is Best", particularly if you are feeling either physically or mentally tired and/or your leg muscles are fatigued/achy.

- Keep stretching as much as possible during the couple of weeks prior to the marathon.

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