Ask Coach Bradley: Taper Time Tips
Whether you are part of our CARA training programs, working towards your next 5k PR, or a beginning runner CARA Director of Training and Head Coach Tim Bradley is here to answer your training questions!
Q: I’m heading into the taper part of my training ahead of my fall race. How should I approach these training weeks to feel ready on race day?
A: Whether you are hitting peak mileage this week or are already tapering, now the focus shifts to feeling rested and fresher as you approach the final day. Understanding what you are trying to get out of the taper is really important as well as understanding how to effectively use the time you will have due to not running as much.
Some key points:
Keep your running frequency generally the same while you reduce total mileage each week.
It is normal to feel sluggish or anxious during your taper, take more time for stretching, recovery modalities and mental relaxation.
Enjoy the feeling of being more rested and not having as much muscular soreness after long runs.
Try "shakeout" runs of just 10-15 minutes if you need to calm your nerves or need some fresh air.
Extra sleep is a great way to recover and to feel bouncy on race day.
Spend some time mentally preparing for race day with the extra time you have from not running as much.
Don't be afraid to take an extra day off in order to get more muscle recovery or sleep.
Start mapping out your pacing and hydration/fueling plan. What will you drink, how much and where on the course will you take fluids? What pacing strategy will you use for this race?
While you may not be running as much there is still plenty to work on preparing for race day. Remember that you are still "in training" even though at times it may not feel like it. Enjoy the process of feeling better physically while you work on your emotional and mental training.
Have a training question? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.