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Are you preparing for the Sunshine Coast Marathon? Have you got your last few weeks of training structured before the big event that you have worked so hard for? The team at Footsmart have put together some great tips for better preparing yourself and getting the best out of your training sessions to perform the best you can on game day!

Many athletes fail to realize that one of the most important aspects of marathon training is the taper phase.  Taper, or tapering, refers to the reduction of training (either in distance or intensity), before a major competition or race. Tapering promotes recovery from previous workouts while at the same time, allowing one to be completely rested for the big event. Numerous studies have concluded that tapering is essential for best performance and can take place from as little to one week out from race day (a 10km running event) to two or three weeks out (a Marathon event). Research by the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has shown that athletes who tapered improved performance by up to 3 percent compared to those who did not. This translates to finishing time of 5 to 10 minutes faster in a marathon.


3 weeks out

Reducing your total weekly training volume (distance or time) by 20 to 25 percent during this week gives your body a chance to recover from all that hard work done in training. If your normal training volume is 80km a week you only need to drop 16km. This can also be done by giving yourself an extra rest day or by simply cutting out 3 or 4km from your regular recovery runs.   This will allow for restocking of depleted glycogen supplies and repair of tissue damage. The combination of decreased workload and increased rest can be invigorating—expect to feel excited, anxious, or both!

2 weeks out

During week two of taper, you’ll reduce your training volume again by an additional 15 to 20 percent. Your long run will be shorter and your intense workouts, which should be your biggest volume days, will also be reduced. For example, an 80km week will be reduced to 55 to 60km. Aim for your last long run to be on Monday or Tuesday. If you’re targeting a time goal for your event, do the following fundamental workout during one of your longer midweek runs. Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes, then run one kilometer at 30 seconds faster than your planned race pace, followed by one kilometer at 30 seconds slower than race pace. Repeat two to four times. Rest two days. This will keep your body sharp for race day.

1 week out

If you thought the training was tough, wait until you reduce your mileage the week before a marathon. It takes discipline and confidence to give your body the rest it needs At this point, it’s all about staying rested and getting into the zone mentally. The goal for this week is to continue keeping stress levels low by relaxing as much as you can (yes you read it here! You should consider giving yourself an extra rest day while reducing your daily runs by 50 to 60% of their normal volume. So, if you’re used to running 12 kilometers on your easy recovery days, you should target 8-9 kilometers instead. Reduce your running to just four days this week. A very light, race-pace workout early in the week can help you stay switched on and alleviate some nerves. Remember: During this final week, you can’t under-do. You can only overdo.

I like going for a light run the day before a marathon.  Anything up to 5km works well for me. This will actively encourage blood flow your legs and will make you feel less anxious. Running the day before a race also activates the central nervous system, which will enable your legs to respond better on race day! Just remember that you’ve put in the all the hard work with training, don’t go overboard on the taper.

The team at Footsmart can help you prepare before and after the race, make a booking with the team today.