Arthur Lydiard said “Don’t pull the plants up by the roots”. For the next 2 weeks leading to April 7 you should be tapering by reducing your workload a lot. Nothing you do over these next few days will help you gain better fitness. Don’t be tempted to test yourself, it will only break you down and impede recovery. Not tapering properly can negatively impact your performance on April 7.
The key workout during the taper phase is a “up tempo” run of 800m – 1500m, to help you test your race pace rhythm. It’s preceded by a typical race warmup for you and a long slow cool down. Any other aerobic runs or jogs are done at the slowest end of the recommend pace as the goal is full recovery. These are not “junk” miles, a term I have heard thrown around. There is no such thing. A very slow run allows your muscles to fully recover from the harder workouts in the prior weeks. It is critical to do these properly as they aid the total recovery process.
There are no workouts in taper which break the body down. It’s all about rest, recovery, eating properly, getting enough sleep and not drinking alcohol. There is a dehydrating property to alcohol which is the last thing you want to experience during taper or on race day. There’s plenty of time for the post-race celebratory beer after a job well done.
Next week I’ll go over final week prep, diet thoughts and race strategy.
For our runners following the Lydiard Method, the Taper phase is the last of 5 phases shown here leading to peaking on your target race day. (©Lydiard Foundation). As the runner proceeds through the phases the volume decreases and the pace increases.
If you would like to learn more about the Lydiard Method, stop by the store as we enjoy talking about training, particularly yours! We’ll be happy to take you through the concepts for each phase.