As race day approaches you begin to taper by reducing your training volume. This allows your legs to bounce back from all of your hard work during the weeks leading up to the race. You feel you can run faster as your fatigue level drops and you have more energy. Most runners will reduce volume by 20 percent to 50 percent depending on how much they train. Your taper is usually one to three weeks depending on the volume of training you have completed during your highest training phase.
Here are three suggestions on what to do during the taper phase to help you race faster:
1. MODIFY YOUR TRAINING FOR IMPROVED FITNESS –
a. Complete a longer speedwork session to increase your V02 max approximately 10 days before the race;
b. Complete a moderate distance aerobic threshold workout approximately 7 days before the race; and,
c. Run the balance of your speedwork and tempo workouts at a pace reduced to about 90% of the usual effort.
2. RACE A SECONDARY SHORTER DISTANCE EVENT-
Race a shorter distance event one or two weeks before your primary race. A shorter event will hone your racing fitness. Also a shorter race provides an excellent opportunity to test your fuel loading strategy and race day routine.
3. WIND DOWN OTHER TRAINING –
Reduce other training such as cross training or weight lifting or hot yoga. Other forms of training are very helpful in building your aerobic fitness and improving muscular strength but they require extra energy. I recommend you stop cross training during the final two weeks leading up to the race and concentrate on event specific training; running. Allow for maximum recovery while sharpening your running race fitness.
All the best in your races this fall!
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