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With the Great Midlands (Sutton) Fun Run, now just three weeks away, this is the time for the final phase of your training programme… tapering.

As a Personal Trainer, I am often asked; what is tapering, is it important, how should I taper my training? Read on and I shall make all this clear.

Simply put, tapering is reducing your mileage in the final phase of training leading up to an event. The reason for doing this is to allow your body to recover from the tough training regime you have been putting it through, thus enabling you to achieve peak performance on the day.

So yes it is important! The scientific answer is tapering allows muscle glycogen stores to return to peak level. Metabolic enzymes, antioxidants and various hormones depleted during training will also return to optimal levels.

The how you taper your training is the most challenging question and certainly the one I spend most time focusing on with my Personal Training clients. Everybody and every training programme is different, but there are some basic principles that if you adhere to will leave you fresh and ready to go when the day arrives!

Firstly, tapering starts from the time you complete your longest training run. The longer the race the greater the time you should allow for tapering. For the Sutton Fun Run it should be at least two weeks, this would increase to at least three weeks for a marathon. During the final week of training you should be doing less than 50% or the running that you were doing when your training was at a peak. Dropping the miles by 30% a week is a good guide. As an example if you’re running the 8 ½ miles, peaking at a total of 15 miles, then 30% would become 7 miles in the final week.

One final thing to consider is that whilst physically this is the easiest phase, mentally tapering can be quite difficult as people worry they are losing their fitness. Rest assured this isn’t the case, you will get more benefit tapering and eliminating fatigue than you could achieve by additional fitness gains in that period. Trust me it’s a very strange feeling as a Personal Trainer persuading people to train less!!

Contact me to discuss your training requirements.


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