5K Taper

Race Week

We are less than one week from race day!  This is an important week to let everything come together for a spectacular performance on Saturday.  Here are a few tips to help you train SMART throughout the week.

  • Taper:  A typical 5K taper should be 3-4 days of reduced effort.  Tapering does not mean rest completely, but it means reduce your efforts and avoid overloading your muscles.  Tapering is built into the schedule to allow maximum muscle repair before stepping to the starting line. 
  • Volume:  Reduce volume significantly during your taper.  Each day of your taper should be a lower volume of work than you maintained during weeks prior in training.  In addition, you should include one day of complete rest during your taper.    
  • Intensity:  Maintain intensity while reducing volume.  In preparing for a 5K race, you are better off running 1 mile hard than 5 miles easy during your taper.  A few strong pick-ups or sprints will help to reinforce your quick leg turnover.  Just keep the number of repeats low enough to maintain a lower volume.
  • Rest:  Rest applies to several things.  First, use one day to rest from physical activity.  In addition, try to get a little extra sleep.  Sleep is the ultimate time of repair for your body.
  • Hydration:  Your race day hydration applies to your behavior the week leading up to the race.  Be sure to get plenty of water and electrolytes throughout the week.  You cannot wait until race day to ensure that you are well hydrated.  It takes several days to replenish, especially in the heat of the summer. 
  • Stretch and Roll:  With a little less time spent in training, utilize your extra minutes in the day to stretch and roll your muscles.  Trigger point is your friend as you taper!  You want to maintain and improve flexibility.  Stretch regularly in order to avoid tightening up with rest.

Enjoy your taper and take it seriously!  You have earned a little rest.  And if you get stir crazy, that is normal!  Don't let that encourage you to do too much.  The taper is a valuable time of rest and repair, and it is crucial to stepping onto the start line at 100%.

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