Tapering before a race is necessary. It gives you an athletic advantage on race day and helps you feel ready to race.

Stephanieruns Fitness

September 9, 2018 Newsletter

What's the deal with tapering?

So what is tapering? Tapering is not stopping all your activity. It's the gradual reduction in your mileage as you get closer to race day. You're reducing your training volume but not necessarily cutting back your intensity until closer to race day.  After you hit your peak distance in your training plan your training volume generally starts to decrease. The reduction in your training volume is your taper.  Your taper could be anywhere from 7-21 days. Like most things in running there are guidelines/best practices and what works for you. The key is always to find what works for you.

When you're training for a race tapering is necessary to ensure you're race ready. This is backed up by scientific  studies which show up to a 3% improvement in performance with tapering. Tapering will allow your muscles to repair and your glycogen stores to replenish as well as making your body feel rested and ready to race. The question left for you to figure out is how you can adjust your taper so it works for you. Not everyone's taper will look the same, kind of like how everyone's running shoes are different.

Most runners are either are okay with tapering or find it incredibly hard. If you're a runner who finds tapering easy that most likely means you've figured out what strategy works best for you. If you find tapering difficult you can work to find strategies that work for you. You might also need to adjust your taper so it works better for you. This could mean a longer or shorter taper with different runs.

I like using the taper to go over training logs, which prove to me that I've done the work and that I'm ready for my race. I also like to visualize both the race course and my race day strategy. I find using the down time during the taper time to plan a race day strategy helps refocus my mental running game. I'm aware this doesn't work for everyone. Some runners need to escape from running and fill their extra time with friends and family. Some runners also look to their other hobbies to fill the extra time. If going over your training logs stresses you out don't do it. Go to the movies, go out for dinner or whatever works for you.

When you look at the combined benefits of tapering and carb loading you're looking at performance advantage of up to 6 percent. When you're running a distance race like a marathon 6% is huge. This make it worth the work to find out what works for you when you're tapering. Also who doesn't want to eat delicious carbs and watch Netflix in the days leading up to a race?

If you have questions about tapering or how to make it work let me know. I'd be happy to cover tapering in more detail in the future newsletter. Send me an e-mail at fitness@stephanieruns.com with your questions.

Weekly Challenge: Tapering

Something I encourage my athletes to do a day or two before their race is a shake out run. You've spent less time running and your nerves are at an all time all. A shake out run allows you to get our for a pressure free easy run where you can add in some faster intervals if you're feeling good.

I use the shake out run as a mental training boost. you won't see any gains a day or two before your race, but getting out for a run before race day can help remind you that you've got this.

Plan for about a 30 minute run with no pressure, run for the love of running and take it easy. This is a good time to go out running without any gear or watches. Run by feel!

If you're not currently tapering you can use this run to reenergize your training.

Let me know if you try out a shake out run and how it goes. If you need any help let me know! Feel free to reach out on twitter @srunsfitness

Do you Carb Load?

Carb loading is always talked about but do you understand how and why to carb load? Most races have a pasta dinner the night before a race but waiting until the night before your race to carb load is too late. You should be looking at card loading two to three days before your race. Some runners after their last long run before your race reduce their carbohydrate intake to deplete their carbohydrate stores before starting to carb loading.

I do believe that you can have success with carb loading two to three days before your race. Focus on complex healthy carbs. Now carbs will cause you to retain water, but that's okay. The extra water weight will help you fight off dehydration on race day. Carb loading has been shown to give you a 2-3% athletic advantage on race day. When we are talking about a distance race that's a huge advantage!

If you haven't carb loaded before a race before or if you haven't done enough carb loading I encourage you to make a plan for your next race to carb load. We all know carbs are delicious!

I'm offering a fall/winter full coaching package. Work with me from November 4, 2018 to February 2, 2019. You'll receive all your running and strength training workouts delivered to your Training Peak's account. We will have weekly contact and work towards your goals! The cost is $450 for my newsletter subscribers. You can read more details here.

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Stephanieruns Fitness

461 North Service Rd West
Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

Website: Stephanieruns Fitness

Twitter: @srunsfitness

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries or damages as a result of the above content.

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