In most training plans, you will find that the last three weeks will have a taper. Where you will run less and rest more. I am sure this seems weird, but in this time period you will get stronger and will not lose any of you fitness levels. Studies have down that your aerobic capacity does not change.
In this taper period you will find that the following will change during this taper period.
- Antioxidants will be restored
- Enzymes will be restored
- Hormones will be restored
- Immune function improve
- Muscle glycogen will be restored
- Muscle damage will be restored
In fact, with a taper studies have shown a 3% improvement in time. The taper will be used to minimize fatigue and restore yourself to the best conditions to run your race.
Not following a training plan? Here are some tapering suggestions.
- Keep with your running schedule but decrease the amount of running by 20%
- Reduce your midweek runs by 1-2 miles
- Take your weekend run at a slower pace
- Avoid running hills or speed work during a taper
- Take in extra protein to help your muscles build that strength
- Vitamin C can help you if you are run down to refuel
- If you plan to use new shoes for the race, break them in
- Never wear shoes that have too many miles on them