12 Apr

Tips For The Taper


It’s that nervy time of year when tens of thousands of runners start the countdown to London Marathon. After months and months of training, sleeping and eating finally regain their positions of importance above running.

What should be a relaxing period, with most of the hard work/long runs behind you and dietary abstinence strictly adhered to, can actually be one of the trickiest times of the whole marathon build-up.

You are fit, ready and raring to go, so tapering just seems to go against everything you have lived and breathed for the last few months. Yet, taper you must! You must run less and eat more. Shock, horror – you might even put on some weight!

Here are five tips ahead of the big day:

  • Avoid more strenuous sessions like intervals, hill reps or speed workouts. Now is not the time for any muscle tissue damage. Instead, allow them to repair and replenish fully for the big race.
  • Take time to mentally prepare yourself for the big day. How will you respond in different scenarios? What if it is windy? How will you compromise your time goal? Set multiple goals; a dream scenario, a good result and an acceptable run.
  • Ditch the weights. There is nothing more to be gained at this stage. It can only sap strength.
  • Make carbs a central part of your diet in the immediate days before the race to build glycogen stores.
  • On the eve of the big race, don’t spend too long at the Expo. Not easy – it’s like Disneyland for runners. But you need time off your feet, you’ll have plenty of time on them on race day.

A bonus tip: enjoy it as much as you can! There will be tough moments, but a marathon is a special occasion both for newbies and veterans of 100 marathons. And London is even more special than most!


  1. John Owens said...

    Great advice guys. Looking forward to VLM now and making the most of my 'taper' phase of training. A very crucial part of the process, however just ran a 5k PB at ParkRun on Sat and 10k PB at Glenlivit 10k race for my charity CHSS. All the interval, S&C and LSR training certainly has paid off - feeling great and relaxed with a few slow runs at race pace to come and loads of carbs! Hope you all enjoy your race and make the most of this wonderful experience. Thanks, John.