Taper Week-Tapering 101



I took the day off yesterday because I’m trying to rest my legs. Saturday’s half is partly through a hilly golf course, so I thought it would be wise to have fresh legs come Saturday morning. Oh and my mom is in town, so there’s that;)

My mom and J racing down the hill, I hope someday he runs with me!

Creepy shadow eyes!

My mom and J racing down the hill, I can't wait for when he wants to run with me!

My mom and J racing down the hill, I can’t wait for when he wants to run with me!

Today however I got a surprise visit from my running buddy Lindsay who moved to OR! I’m so thrilled to be running with her, hope I can still keep up with her;)

Taper Week

I really have no idea how to properly taper because I’m no professional. But I’m going to share with you how IĀ  taper anyway, mmkay?

Let’s start with the basics. The definition of taper=gradually decrease. Tapering regarding running(according to me) means to gradually decrease your mileage leading up to a race. For me it also means hydrate(by drinking water), carbo load, and get adequate sleep so your body has time to recover.

Here’s what a typical week looks like for me leading up to a half marathon:

Monday– Easy 4-6 miles followed by upper body weight training

Tuesday-off(you could swim or bike for cross training if your into that sorta thing)

Wednesday– Easy 3-5 miles followed by upper body or core workout

Thursday– off

Friday– off or sometimes I do an easy shake out run 2-3 miles

Saturday– race day

Throughout the week I consciously try and eat better, hydrate more and go to sleep earlier. of course, not all of these happen perfectly, but I can try right? The more I race the more I learn what works for me and what doesn’t. For example, cereal as a pre-race meal does not cut it for me. I need to have a pancake with pb, bagel, pb and jam sandwich, or a banana and pb. So, basically I need mouthfuls of peanut butter=) Find out what works best for you by testing out different routines and foods on your longer runs leading up to the race.

I haven’t ran a full yet, so I can’t give tips there. For shorter races like a 5k and 10k where I’m trying to PR I would definitely take the day before off to have fresh legs.

What is some of your tapering advice?

Do you taper before every race?

What’s your favorite pre-race meal? or favorite carbo load?

About Sugar Plum Runner

Welcome to the Sugar Plum Runner! I grew up in WA state, but currently reside in UT with my husband Josh, son Jackson, and 2 daughters Lily and Claire. I love running, but I have never been so inspired to run, race, and blog about it since 4 years ago after I had Jackson. I grew up playing soccer and cheered in high school. My favorite part of both sports(and yes I consider cheer leading a sport) was the conditioning. I found myself running after practice was over on my own. That's when I realized that running may be the sport I really loved.
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27 Responses to Taper Week-Tapering 101

  1. I’m no expert either but for me tapering is about listening to my body. If I wake up and am a bit tight, I try to spend more time stretching and foam rolling. If I am craving a specific food (sometimes I crave red meat), I tend to think that’s my body telling me I need more protein. I always try to give it what it wants leading up to a race, within reason of course!

    I love a standard carbo-loading pasta dinner the night before. And of course a good brunch immediately following!

  2. I like to take 2 days off before a race! Recently I’ve started eating dry cereal and a banana about 2 hours before a race and my stomach doesn’t seem to mind it! Hope you have a great race!!!

  3. pickyrunner says:

    Taper sucks. I’m in it now and it’s been gradually declining for about 2 weeks now. It’s so much easier when you have family around though to distract you šŸ™‚

  4. I know it’s bad but I’m afraid of tapering. I feel like it screws with my confidence more than it helps me recover. (<– Aaaaand this is why I get injured a lot!)

    • Oh no, I’m so sorry! I actually enjoy tapering because I like relaxing and in my head I feel like my legs are nice and fresh for race day. I hope that you can find a way to taper that works for you so you don’t get injured:/

  5. I run one last long run a week before the race, do at least two shorter runs (between 4 or 5 miles) and then take the 2 days before the race off. I’ve never done a full either, always halfs and this seems to work for me.

  6. jumpeatrun says:

    You are making me really want to run a half right now! I am going to live vicariously through you this weekend. I hate tapering!

  7. I took three days off in a row before my half marathon… but I was following Hal Higdon’s plan and that’s what it called for. It seemed to work out well! I always eat a scoop of peanut butter before a long run, but someone told me that peanut butter is not a good fuel because it’s dense and hard to digest? I took that with a grain of salt because peanut butter seems to work really well for me!

  8. megbek says:

    Yay for your half this weekend! Can’t wait to hear how it goes. That looks like a good tapering plan to me, much better than I can ever figure out! I taper before longer races, otherwise, not really. Pre race I always have a banana and usually some peanut butter, depending on the distance! Nom!

  9. Erin says:

    Good luck love! And the only thing I can stomach before a race is a banana!

  10. sounds like you are being smart with race week. I am about hydrating, upping my carbs throughout the week and taking it easy on the running side

  11. Smart taper week you have there! Enjoy and rest those legs, you are going to rock it!

  12. The taper advice that meant the most to me was: “Trust your training.” If you have done a good job preparing, tapering is just part of that process. Don’t worry about the mileage, etc. Just do what’s right for your body.
    Great suggestions about sleep and hydration!
    That pic of you and your mom is perfect! šŸ™‚ I miss mine!

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