How to taper for a half marathon

Don't undo your training with a poor taper


Whether you are currently training for the Brighton Half Marathon 2012, or for another upcoming half marathon event, knowing how to change your training in the few weeks before a race can be tricky.

Generally, people fall into two camps; there’s the ‘run, rabbit run,’ type, who keeps putting in long runs, and punishing pace work in the final week thinking this will improve their race time (or make up for lack of training).

Then there’s ‘Sedate Sofa Susan,’ (it’s just a name that works with alliteration – I’m not referring to anyone!). This type, sits back on the sofa, begins carb loading for England and doesn’t move a muscle for fear it will wear her out.

Neither is on the right track.

You don’t want to be putting in 13plus mile runs in the week before as  you body won’t recover in time for the race. Nor do you need to start carb loading a week out for a half marathon and not moving a muscle, as this will just leave you feeling sluggish.

As a general rule, your runs should become gradually easier in effort and volume in the last two weeks. But your body is used to running so don’t drop your frequency except for one or two runs in the last week, otherwise you could end up feeling ‘unconnected’ to your body.

Reduce your long run on the last weekend by about 60% and  no punishing pace runs. Focus on easy runs, (a few easy tempo runs are no bad thing).

Of course, this does vary from person to person according to fitness levels, and psychological make up.  As you get used to racing, you will get to understand what works best for your body.

Food wise? This is a half marathon, not an ultra race, so you don’t need to eat pasta every night of the week. Stick with what you know works for you the night before the race, and in the week before, think good slow releasing carbohydrates with protein such as legumes, chicken or fish.

For recipe ideas, please visit our Diet & Lifestyle website




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