Tapering should last approximately three weeks, starting with your final long run. In the first week you want to aim for approximately 70% of your usual training but at the same intensity. Reduce this to 50% in week two and maintain the same intensity. By week one you should be running for no more than six miles. You won’t lose your fitness but you’ll give your body he opportunity to recover before your race day.
You want your final week to look like this:
Monday – four miles
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – rest
Friday – two miles
Saturday – one mile
Sunday – race day!
It’s a good idea to get up early and have a good bowl of cereal/porridge, and then take a banana to snack on before the race starts. Do stop eating at least one hour before you run though so it you don’t feel sick during the run.
After you finish your race make sure you put on a warm jacket or utilise your foil jacket that you’re given at the finish of most races. Your body temperature will drop quickly and you need to make sure that you don’t stop blood flow as your body tries to begin your recovery process. This is your time to enjoy a recovery drink – beetroot juice is ideal at this point.
Keep moving little and often for the rest of the day to minimise natural muscle and joint stiffening. Move very 15 minutes and never less than once per hour to keep your blood pumping around your body.
The best part is you can enjoy anything you want food-wise for the next few days. It’s also important that you drink plenty to rehydrate your body.
In the week after an event it’s also ideal to swim a few times to ease up your muscles and go for short walks if you can. By the end of week two it’s time to start running again with short runs: five minutes, with two minutes of stretching. Don’t neglect massages and physio check-ups during this period.