Trust the taper….But don’t trust your thoughts!

Just a short training focus today… a brief reminder to all runners about to race….  Do not trust your thoughts during the taper! The taper is vital, and you need to follow your taper plan completely, but for a lot of tapering runners, as they get nearer their target race, the mileage drops and nerves set in. This generally means one of two things…


  1. Your runs feel great. You are nailing the taper runs, feeling bouncy, running smoothly, and the little chimp on your shoulder is chatting away “wow! This feels easy. Maybe I should review my target pace. Maybe I should go a little bit faster on the day. I’m clearly fitter than I thought I was!” Do not be fooled! You are well rested, you may not be carb loading yet, but if you are eating well the decreased load is replenishing your glycogen stores. You may be getting more rest as you are not running as much. Lots of things going on – embrace the fact the taper is working and you will be in a good place for race day, but don’t change anything! Review your entire block of training as that tells you far more about your pace than your taper does, and consult a coach or experienced runner that you trust if you want a second opinion (try not to consult Facebook!)


  1. Or maybe you’ve gone the other way – you feel rubbish and your runs have gone to pot. Your legs may feel like lead, a short distance at race pace seems insurmountable and your Garmin is telling you you’re unproductive (although why are you listening to your Garmin – you know it is fickle and untrustworthy!) Stop and take a deep breath. Remember why you are running during the taper – it is to keep your legs turning over and to practice running at marathon pace (regardless of how it feels). You are under high pressure with the impending race and the expectation that you should feel great in the taper. It doesn’t always work like that and it doesn’t usually mean anything for your race. Don’t panic!




Above all, please remember, you cannot predict your race performance how runs during the taper feel – unless something major happens (like a proper injury, not maranoia induced niggles!). Judge your potential race performance on your training and above all STICK TO YOUR TAPER PLAN. Unless you are very logical, completely unaffected by pressure and nerves, or have consulted an experienced runner or coach who you trust, do NOT deviate from your planned taper.


Good luck for the taper and if you have any questions, please post below.


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Martin Hulbert

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