With the Great Ocean Road Running Festival happening in less than two weeks, we are seeing runners starting to taper their loads in their preparation. But what is tapering? And how do we go about this?
Tapering will look different for different people, running different events. It is the gradual decline in km’s that comes before the event, giving your body time to recover and be in prime condition. You should allow between 7-14 days between your final long run and race day, but it is still important to keep your body moving in that time.
Reduce volume but maintain intensity
You want to decrease your mileage to ensure your legs are feeling fresh on the day, however keep a moderate amount of intensity in your runs. Intensity is the key preserver of fitness during reduced training, and does not incur as much fatigue as a longer run.
Stick to a similar training schedule
Although you might be decreasing your volume, you should be maintaining your training frequency. This can go for strength training as well, however you should drop the weights and focus more on mobility and activation exercises through the use of body weight, which reduces the load on joints. The strength sessions in your tapering weeks should not produce muscle soreness or failure, but just enough to produce muscle stimulation.
Fuel your body! Try to eat the healthiest version of your own diet, focusing on whole foods and high quality carbs. Don’t eat anything out of the ordinary or drastically change your diet. And remember to drink plenty of water in the week leading up to your event!
This one is pretty simple, try and get as much sleep to help your body recover.
As you are spending less time running in the 1-2 weeks leading up to your event, use the extra time in your days to do some mobility work and foam rolling.
Good luck to everyone competing at the Great Ocean Road Running Festival! If you do experience any niggles or injuries following the event, make sure you see a health professional to get some guidance and to make sure your body is in prime condition for your next event!