It’s a moment many aspiring marathoners fantasize about as they finish their umpteenth long training run: The few weeks leading up to the race when a training program calls for less running and more recovery, otherwise known as the taper. As triathlete and Greatist expert Terra Castro explains, tapering allows your body to “repair, replenish, and regroup” in preparation for race day. But even though the break from an arduous training schedule can be appealing, it can also seem counterintuitive and for less running and more recovery. But a trustworthy taper—which is simple to execute with the guide below and the help of our experts—will have you healthy and strong for race day.
The dueling temptations to rest too much and not rest enough can make for a tricky taper—it may feel strange to be running so much less than you have been. Castro recommends ignoring both “phantom pains” and “sneaky doubts.” Continue to trust the taper plan you put in place, knowing that reduced mileage, maintained intensity, and self-care are time-honored and science-approved ways to prepare for a race. Castro also warns against trying anything unfamiliar during this period, like a new pair of sneakers or a new workout group and routine. “Keep things simple and stress free in those taper weeks,” she says.
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."