There is a certain time-period that long-distance runners either look forward to or dread. Tapering. This is the time (the final weeks leading up to a race, typically 1 to 2 for a half and 2 to 3 for a full depending on your level of comfort and/or training plan) when you must allow your body to rest and fully recover from all your hard training workouts and long runs in order to perform your best on the actual big day.
A lot of runners have a difficult time wrapping their minds around this concept. And understandably so – why train so hard just to relax the last few weeks? Won’t that diminish what I have built up to this point? Won’t I lose momentum if I pull back now until the race?
I happen to be one of those runners that looks forward to this short period of rest and carb-loading. I ran a half-marathon yesterday and therefore, my wonderful week of tapering took place last week. While I do feel some of the apprehension most runners feel about tapering, I try my best to sit back, trust in my training and enjoy the extra sleep and pasta.
Research studies have shown that the rest is what makes you strong in the final days of training, not the running. So fear not, fellow runners. Embrace the taper week and have faith that all the hard-earned miles you have put in up to this point will pay off.