The Proper Taper

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s now time to allow your mind and body to fully recover as you enter the most important phase of your marathon training.  Properly tapering is critical to success in the marathon.  This will allow for proper glycogen storage in your muscles and provide a much-needed and well-deserved reprieve mentally from the rigors of training for Boston.

Many runners lose their focus because their mileage is reduced so significantly during the next three weeks.  It’s critical to maintain efficient running form throughout all your remaining runs, regardless of the distance.  It’s equally important to sustain the intensity of your runs and not become too lethargic.  You can easily become stale physically and mentally if you just casually cover the scheduled mileage.

Another major mistake is running in shorts too early.  The weather will soon be improving and the temperatures can rise dramatically in the coming weeks.  You’ll be more at risk for a pulled muscle if you’re not completely warm during your runs.  The best rule of thumb during the next three weeks is to not have any major changes in your training and always err on the side of caution.

The final challenge will be keeping your emotions in check.  You’ve already seen the Boston Marathon banners being hung along the course.  The finish line will soon be painted on Boylston Street and the press coverage increases dramatically in all media outlets for the remainder of training.  Your excitement will likely cause you to feel you need to put the final touches on your marathon preparation.  You simply cannot cram for this final exam by adding more intensity or mileage at this point.

No amount of running at this stage of your training will improve your marathon preparation.  However, too much running or intensity can certainly place your ability to finish in peril.  Find comfort in the knowledge that you’ve done all that you possibly can to prepare for Boston…allow you mind and body to rest and recover!

Continue to eat well, stay hydrated and get sufficient rest and you’ll enter the starting corral bursting with confidence.  Proper tapering is the capstone to successfully preparing for an enjoyable run from Hopkinton to Boston…a journey that will be indelibly etched in your heart for the balance of your life!

  1. sara says:

    coach rick –

    you coached me last year as i ran the boston marathon for the esplanade association. during that process, i went from a 150lb non-marathoner to a 125lb boston finisher. since then, i have gone on to cut 1hr 6 min off my time and qualify for this year’s marathon.

    i saw you a couple times on my training run on saturday and you offered worlds of encouragement, though i’m not longer you “student-athlete.”

    i just wanted to say thanks. you’re still coaching me over a year later.

    • Hello Sara,

      You will ALWAYS be my student-athlete! Congratulations on qualifying for Boston…that’s an amazing accomplishment. You are certainly doing well with your running.

      Please let me know if there’s ever anything that I can do to help you and good luck in Boston!

      Your Coach,


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