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Taper Madness

Marathon Taper Advice

If you’ve run a marathon previously, you’ll know this feeling. But, if your first marathon is coming up, don’t worry. We’ve all been there—the Taper.

Not all athletes experience the same feelings or combination of feelings, but it’s common to experience taper blues.

Even if you’ve done all the training, diligently racked up the miles, banked all of your long runs, and ticked all of the boxes in terms of your pacing, fueling, organisation and planning, it is perfectly normal in the final few weeks before your big race to experience doubt, uncertainty, lethargy and panic! 

Personally, I go from being on cloud nine excitedly checking the weather, looking forward to race day, to nervously doubting myself, questioning if I’ve done all the work and thinking irrational thoughts. Maybe I shouldn’t even race. Instead, go for a marathon later in the year… 

Marathon Taper

If anything, the longer you have been doing it and the more experienced you become, the more sensitive you are to how you feel and think leading up to a big event. So every time you have a wobble, just reassure yourself that you have completed a brilliant build-up and simply need to trust the work you have done and then all you can do is your best on race day and stick to the plan. 

Remember, there is no right way to taper, and everyone is different.

You don’t lose all the training benefits by doing less running the closer the marathon gets.

You won’t lose any of the fitness you have gained over the past few months by being sensible and doing less as the race draws closer.

So if you’re thinking of cramming in some last-minute miles, think again. Let the hard work come out, and remember it is perfectly normal to feel sluggish and lethargic when tapering. In the final weeks, your training should be reduced and not increased. Trust me, you’ll feel fresher the closer you get to race day.

Look forward to the race, feel excited, motivated, happy and ready to take on 26.2-miles with everything you’ve got! 

When you have doubts (you will!), take time to look back at your training diaries at all the hard work you’ve put in and reassure yourself that you’re in control and the fitness is there. 

Check out 10 marathon tips here. 

About the author: Jonny Mellor

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