tip tap

By November 30, 2010News

Tapering, in the context of sports, refers to the practice of reducing, or tapering off, exercise in the days just before an important competition.[1] Tapering is customary in many endurance sports, such as the marathonathletics and swimming. For many athletes, a significant period of tapering is essential for optimal performance. The tapering period frequently lasts as much as a week or more.”

For some reason I decided to wikipedia the word taper a few weeks back when I started easing down on my training. I thought it was pretty funny that on the long list of options when you type in taper there is actually a page for the ‘sports’ tapering. The quote above is from that page.

Check out third from the bottom....click image to enlarge

You can check out more of what wikipedia has to say about tapering here.

In my experience the taper is often a difficult phase of the training. You can start to feel a bit lethargic and lazy and fat and out of shape. After training pretty hard for the past 2 months you’d think that the taper would be like a reward. But, I sort of feel like I a cheating or something, that I really should still be hammering out the miles. But, you’ve gotta trust that it is going to have the desired effect.

We developed a reasonable plan for the taper, partly based on cutting back my mpw by x% of my max, but also partly just based on feel. In the middle of the hardest part of the training I didn’t really have the option to not go running if I was tired and feeling crap, but the past week or so I have had that option.

I also did a bit of research (asking people and searching running logs on the internet – total running geek, I know) into what other people have done as a taper for the marathon. My two favourites are Bill Rodgers’ before the 1975 Boston marathon and Rod DeHaven’s (week of April 02, 2001) before the 2001 Boston marathon. I think I like Rod’s better, mostly because he sort of explains why he ran 130miles the week before the race: he had a rough patch in the middle of his build-up and felt like he needed to get more work in, so he ‘gambled’ with a 1 week taper. I don’t know why Rodgers tapered the way he did, but it certainly worked?!?

Don’t worry I didn’t follow their lead. Although there results were both great, so maybe I should have?!? Only time will tell………


  • Rob Watson says:

    I also like how Bill Rodgers was back up to 132miles two weeks after the marathon, those guys were hard back in the day.
    Good Luck man, Kill it!


  • kiskiw says:

    Good luck Dylan! the taper is always a hard time. I know when I taper its only a week but I don’t do alot of fast stuff so I don’t think its as hard as say, full on marathon training. It can be difficult to sit with all that time you have because your running less but trust in the work and be confident. We’ll be cheering for ya!


  • Kurtis Marlow says:

    Good Luck Dylan – I am eager to see the results.


  • Bill says:

    What race are you running, I don’t see any mention of it on your blog? Good luck nonetheless.

  • Clive says:

    P-K is behind you all the way! Will be watching via the web, let it rip!