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5 Things You Have To Do During Your Taper

5 Things You Must Do During Taper Time

You’ve made it this far—don’t blow it the final weeks before your race! In the last two weeks before a marathon or half, the hard training is over—the hay is in the barn. It’s time to taper, and what you do during this period can make a huge difference on race day. Time to think about shortening your runs and dialing in your fueling. Olympic coach and Competitor senior editor Mario Fraioli helped us create a cheat sheet of the must do’s before the main event.

Trust your training.
You’ve done the work, and now it’s time to trust it. Doubts will always creep in, so let them creep right back out! Visualization before bed is a good tool many athletes use. Imagine yourself eating that hill for breakfast, and you’ll be totally hungry on race day.

Related: What To Do In The Final Minutes Before The Start Of A Race

Chill out.
In the final week, keep off your feet as much as possible, and choose activities that ease your nervous mind. (Sorry, running can’t be one of them.)

drink water

Hydrate more.
Gulping water and electrolytes isn’t just for race morning—begin fueling more before you toe the line. Fraioli suggests adding a water timer to your watch so you don’t skip a chug session during taper time. Aim for 4 ounces every 30 minutes, or one glass per hour every day.

Related: 5 Ways To Drink More Water

Embrace the tantrum.
The taper tantrum, that is. If you feel anxious or over-energized, it’s just your body telling you it’s ready to work hard on race day.

Cut miles.
Fraioli suggests dropping your total weekly mileage by 20 percent two weeks out from your race, then an additional 10 percent one week prior.

Related: 11 Fears Every Runner Experiences While Tapering For A Race

Caitlyn Pilkington

Caitlyn Pilkington

Caitlyn Pilkington is the web editor for Women's Running. She started running competitively in 2001 and has completed two marathons and tons of half marathons. Her proudest moment as a runner was crossing the finish line of her first marathon in 3:29, qualifying for the 2016 Boston Marathon.