You’ve made it through weeks of grueling marathon training, and it’s finally time to rest with a taper period. A marathon taper period is a time of structured recovery, a decrease in training volume and an emphasis on rest, nutrition and mental preparation so you can toe the starting line feeling like a running rock star. The hard work is over, right? Actually, many runners consider the marathon taper to be one of the most difficult parts of a marathon training plan. Although the higher-intensity sessions and long runs are in the rearview mirror, an athlete’s brain and body experience a different kind of stress as you shift attention away from training and set sights on your goal race.
Rattling around in your head are thoughts like “am I prepared enough?” or, “how do I properly carb load?” and, “why am I so anxious?” As the big day approaches, your main focus should be on rest, nutrition and mental preparation. Read on to learn how to taper for a marathon.