Lydiard Phase 5: Taper

An optimum period of time to train for a full or half marathon is 18 – 24 weeks. Sunday June 9 would be the last start day for Chicago Marathon training (October 13) for an 18-week program.

The Lydiard Method is comprised of 5 phases, in sequence, each of which builds specific systems you will need to perform at your peak during your goal race.

The fifth phase is called Taper and typically is 1-3 weeks in length. The prior 4 phases have allowed you to develop aerobic and anaerobic capacities, your recovery systems, muscular and cardiac strength and provided either increased endurance or speed as needed. The work has been done so the Taper phase allows you to fully recover, replenish your vital physical and mental stores and be 100% ready on race day.

Your workload is decreased and is just enough to allow you to maintain your fitness level. Aerobic runs are now Long Jog’s and Jog’s which are slower and shorter. There is one short, quick, up tempo run 3 days prior to your goal race. If you are on a 6-7-day plan there will be one session of 50/50’s.

You will completely stock up your glycogen stores and you will put on a couple pounds during the week preceding the race. You will lighten up as you get a few miles into your race so don’t worry.

Do not be tempted to try out your fitness in an unscheduled race. This is called “picking the flower by the roots”. You will be feeling great, energized and ready but save it for the goal race! Remember all the training you have done to prepare you for your day and the target race. That’s all that matters now.

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
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