Taper week, as you may know, is the week before a race, crossfit competition, triathlon – whatever it is – that you slow the training and give you body time to rest and recover before you compete. For runners, the length of the race will dictate how long the taper. For a half-marathon, it isn’t too much of a taper.
Bennie is a pro at rest & recovery.
The week before, I generally run the first 3 days and do lower mileage. For example, this week I did 4, 5 and 3 miles, in addition to my normal lifting schedule. Yesterday, I did some light cross training and lifting. Today, no gym and Saturday is an easy shake out run of 2 miles. Sunday is race day. Everyone has a different preference on this. The important part is that you do what is right for your body. Everyone is going to have a (differing) opinion. Don’t let it throw you. Stick to the plan you created and be confident (easier said than done).
This snippet from an article on Runner’s World website tells you a lot:
“A review of 50 studies on tapering published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones–all depleted by high mileage–return to optimal ranges during a taper. The muscle damage that occurs during sustained training is also repaired. And if that isn’t enough, immune function and muscle strength improve, as well, which reduces the odds you’ll catch a cold or get injured just before the race. And get this: The average performance improvement by the subjects who tapered in these studies was 3 percent. That works out to 5 to 10 minutes in a marathon.”
You can read the rest of the article here.
To get to my point, I hate taper week. A lot of runner’s go through the same thing. People joke it is PMS – pre marathon syndrome (in this case that would be PhMS – for a half ha!). I stress that I’m not doing the food right, that I’ll be to week, that my muscle memory will leave me, the race will be spontaneously cancelled and this will have all been for no reason, my alarm won’t go off – the irrational thoughts go on, but I’ll spare you.
At any rate, I was grateful for the extra hours of sleep this morning, and so were my sore muscles. Happy Friday everyone! The weekend is almost here.
With love & racing,