Tapering can be one of the hardest parts of training. Tapering involves decreasing your mileage during the last few weeks before your race. This allows your body to replace all of its glycogen stores and makes your legs feel fresh on race day. The reason tapering may be difficult is that most runners feel like they haven’t trained enough or gotten a long enough run in, so they use the last few weeks to “catch-up”. While cramming the night before a big exam may have saved you in school, cramming the last few weeks before your race can be counterproductive.
When training for a half marathon or longer, your longest run should be three to four weeks prior to your race. After your longest training run (which should be your highest mileage week), start cutting your weekly mileage (or minutes) to three quarters, half, and finally one quarter of your highest mileage week. You may feel heavy, sluggish, and slow, but TRUST your training! Even if you didn’t get up to your ideal mileage, even if you didn’t do as many hills as were prescribed, even if you didn’t start training early enough, trust the training that you did complete. With rested legs and a positive mental attitude, you have the chance to go faster and farther than you thought possible.
Coach Carol Frazey