The Taper: What to Keep in Mind
the Week Before Your Marathon
The last week before the marathon is the most crucial time to taper. Now you put on the finishing touches.
This is the last long run before the marathon, and its primary purpose is to give you a final boost of confidence.
Action: Run 10 to 12 miles at an easy pace.
From here on in, reduce each run by at least one mile. It doesn’t really matter how long you run in these remaining days, as long as you don’t run any farther than your previous day’s workout.
Action: Run easy slower than your desired marathon pace for six miles or less.
It’s a good idea to do one workout in which you take the pace up to marathon race pace or slightly quicker. This isn’t a speed workout. You simply want to run a few miles at a controlled, relaxed effort.
Action: Run one mile to warm up, then run 3 x 1 mile at marathon race pace or slightly faster. Cool down with one easy mile.
If you’ve been supplementing your running with strength work or cross-training, it’s time to stop. You won’t get any stronger at this point, and your body needs to rest.
Action: Run easy for five miles or less.
Today’s run and any subsequent runs help to keep your muscles loose and remind your body that it has a job to do. Keep your runs easy and relaxed.
Action: Run easy for four miles or less.
Do something you enjoy, but don’t do anything out of the ordinary or anything that might get you hurt.
Action: Run very easy for three miles, or rest.
Today you want to rest, relax and mentally prepare for the marathon. Focus on positive mental imagery see yourself running well and feeling strong.
Action: Do two to three miles very, very easy, or don’t run at all.
Jog a few minutes to get the blood flowing through your legs, and stretch lightly. Shortly before the start, do no more than four strides at about 10K race pace. Your total marathon warm-up should not exceed one mile. Keep your legs loose by shaking them out while you wait for the starting horn.