Having worked hard for around 5 months racking up countless hours of training taking in what seemed to be an endless number of miles I have finally reached my taper period before I undertake the Manchester Marathon on the 10th April.
Every good marathon plan should include a taper during those final 21 days before the event. During this time you start to run less and rest more so that when the big day comes you are like a coiled spring ready to fly through the race. Research shows that levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes and antioxidants, which are all depleted by high mileage, return to optimal ranges during a taper as does the muscle damage that occurs during intense training. Immune function and muscle strength improve also improve and therefore the average performance improvement by the subjects who tapered in these studies was 3% which could equate to 5 to 10 minutes in a marathon…..ideal for those chasing that new PB!
However, there is something about those last couple of weeks before an event that everything seems to bother you. Call them taper tantrums, the phantom pains, panic attacks, pressure, that plague most marathoners during this period of rest. It seems crazy to say but runners develop not only a physical but also a psychological dependency on running so when they take time off they go through withdrawal!
An example of this may be the overwhelming fear that the time goal you’ve set yourself and trained for diligently is now somehow over ambitious or perhaps you are experiencing phantom pains in your foot, knee, hip or back that strikes for no apparent reason.
Realizing that these feelings are normal will help you survive your taper and arrive at the start line feeling rested and ready to run. So RELAX and ENJOY your rest, the hard work is done now go and have the race of your life!

Written by: Admin

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