Tips for Your Marathon Taper

nyc-marathon-3 With the NYC Marathon just over 4 weeks away I thought the following might interest some of you runners out there:

Tapering for a marathon typically begins about 3 weeks prior to the race. It is an essential part of proper marathon training, and when done correctly will greatly improve your strength during race day especially over those last few km’s. You can start your taper following the longest run in your training cycle which is typically done 3 weeks prior to race day and is usually 32-36 km (20+ miles).

  • Last long run or long race 3 weeks before; after that decrease overall mileage by 20% the following week.
  • Don’t give in to the urge to run hard and for long distances. Keep your pace up but the distance down. Long run around 12-15 km two weeks before the marathon.


  • Two weeks until race day it’s now time to decrease the mileage to 50% of what you were doing pre taper.
  • If you want to do a tune-up race keep it to a 10 km or a half marathon for an experienced runner. Make sure you have 2 weeks to recover before your marathon.
  • Really focus on getting enough sleep every night during the next two weeks. Sleep is when the body heals and regenerates.
  • I highly recommend getting a good sports massage, but at least a week before you race as deep tissue work requires some recovery time.


  • Mileage drops to only 30% of pre taper volume. Keep your normal pace but short.
  • Some people don’t run at all for 2 days prior to racing, but personally I like to do a short 30 minute run the day before running a race like the marathon. Just an easy jaunt to get the engine fired up…