IF YOU'RE TRAINING FOR A LONGER DISTANCE SPRING RACE like a half marathon, marathon, or 25K event (like the one held in my hometown Grand Rapids MI, the 41stFifth Third River Bank Run on May 12, 2018) you may be in the middle of a taper. Ashley Lauretta explains this strategy for Under Armor’s MapMyRun.com blog in an article “Don’t Make these 5 Common Taper Mistakes”.
“Tapering for a race involves decreasing your mileage so your body can be physically - and mentally - fresh on race day.” Lauretta says. The quoted expert in the article makes a distinction that is important to recognize, that the main reduction is in training volume and “to a lesser extent, intensity.”
This may be easier said than done by those who have progressively increased the week’s mileage plus the distance of the long run over several months. This demonstrable progress is a security blanket we have wrapped ourselves in, which, even on those cold wintery runs, warmed us emotionally and physically. If we’re doing more and more, we’re doing better and better, right? To stop going forward in training and start dialing it back, it’s as if we’ve been asked to hand over the blanket before the race start.
In addition, with spring weather arriving, we are eager to spend more time outdoors in sun and clear skies. And if the fueling part of training has been smart and not overdone, the sleek, strong body that has developed as a result of strength and endurance work deserves to be seen, we think. The flip side fear is that less training volume could lead to putting on unwanted pounds.
Lauretta addresses that fear and other issues by cautioning against 5 taper mistakes:
Earned Runs comment: customizing requires experience; 1st time distance race runners may not be able to personalize until the next long event. Keep a log this race; may help the next
Not continuing training intensity
Earned Runs comment: reduce volume but keep up some intensity to maintain training gains
Worrying about putting on weight
Earned Runs comment: follow a nutrition plan to fuel for the race; some gain is expected. Don’t use the taper as an excuse to binge
Not reserving time for sleep
Earned Runs comment : Sleeping may not come easy; spend sleep time in bed/relaxing
Not trusting the plan
Earned Runs comment: the taper is part of the training plan; follow each week’s schedule
It’s best to read the full article to receive the benefit of the advice.
The taper will be good practice for a successful post-race recovery strategy. After your goal race has been completed you will need take time to heal and rest. Although at this point not having tough training sessions seems like a well-earned reward, it’s amazing how that down time period can become stressful.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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