Your Best Half Marathon Two-Week Taper

Plan the perfect final weeks of your Windsor Half Marathon training

 

The Windsor Half Marathon is nearly here! Sunday 29th September is the big day. What should you do – and not do – for these final two weeks? Here’s our best advice for the final few weeks of half marathon training. See you there!

 

Training

The final 2-3 weeks of a half marathon training plan should include a taper, plus a reduction of any weight training or cross training you have been doing. Keep the long runs coming until 14 days before the race. Don’t do anything new that might need a lot of recovery time.

 

1 Your training plan should include a taper

2 Do your longest “long run” two weeks before (weekend of 14th/15th September)

3 For the week of 16th September, reduce your total mileage down to 60% of your highest mileage

4 Run 6-10 miles the weekend before the race

5 For the final week (week of 23rd September), run 35-40% of your highest mileage and don’t do any speed work

 

Rest

These final few weeks are a key time for sleep, rest, recovery, and stress management. By taking extra steps to rest and sleep well, you will feel stronger and fresher for the race. Look at all the training you’ve done – think of this rest period as another stage of training.

 

1 Prioritise sleep in these final few weeks – get to bed earlier, minimise noise and light in your room

2 Don’t take on any new physical chores or projects – rest up!

3 Replace some of that running time with resting – it’s OK to chill out watching TV or films

4 Go for slow walks if you really can’t sit still

5 Aim for a great night’s sleep on Friday night (in case nerves get the better of you the night before the race)

 

Nutrition

The golden rule is don’t try anything new now before race day. Eat the meals and snacks you know digest well and make you feel good. A small increase in carbs before the race can work well (if you find carbohydrates are a good fuel – not everyone does) but there’s no need to overdo it.

 

1 Adjust your calorie intake in line with your taper – so eat slightly less as your mileage comes down

2 Don’t eat or drink anything new or unusual – now is not the time for a stomach upset or food reaction

3 Keep hydration up by drinking lots of water, herbal teas, sugar free squash, or fruit teas

4 Increase carbohydrate intake slightly in the final week but reduce calories from fats and protein (slightly) to keep overall calories the same

5 Have a simple easy to digest meal the night before the half marathon, nothing heavy or fatty

 

Mental Preparation

Your body can’t run a half marathon without the support of your brain, so include some mental prep strategies in your final few weeks.

 

1 Calm down – take a few minutes each day to calm your breathing and your mind to reduce stress and help you sleep better

2 Visualise a successful race – how will you feel, what emotions will you experience, how do you want the day to go? Mentally plan for success

3 Write reminders to yourself (as notes on your phone, or stuck to your fridge/mirror, or carried around in your wallet) abut this half marathon goal

4 Remember why you wanted to run this race – what did you want to achieve, or feel, or put behind you, or move towards?

5 Be kind to yourself. Set your main goal (call it your A goal) but also agree on other goals which you would be just as proud about (getting round, not walking, etc)