The 3-Week Blueprint for an Ideal Taper

With CIM quickly approaching, it’s time to put the finishing touches on your marathon preparation. After months of hard work, you now must slowly reduce your running volume and intensity to ensure that you arrive at the start line refreshed, confident, and fit.  

This period is commonly referred to as the “taper”, and it can make or break your race day performance. The purpose of the taper is to allow your body to repair and replenish itself, so that you can reap the rewards of your training.

Follow these proven tips for the ideal marathon taper, and you can look forward to a great day out on the course!


Three Weeks to Go

Your longest runs, and biggest volumes of weekly mileage, are behind you… but don’t take your foot off the gas entirely. It’s important that you maintain the same cadence of training, while gradually reducing overall distance and effort.

For example, if you typically run four days per week, then keep to that schedule but lower your overall weekly mileage by 15% and cut your longest run by 20%.

In addition, be sure to include some higher intensity work. If you usually perform a mid-week interval session, then continue it, but consider focusing on race pace tempo efforts rather than top-end speed.

Two Weeks to Go

At 14 days before the event, it’s time to further reduce your weekly mileage to 70% of your max, and cut your long run to just 50% of your previous longest effort. All the while, maintain your usual daily training cadence with short runs to keep your body and mind in balance.

10 days prior to the race, execute your last speed session. We recommend 6 to 8 miles at your projected marathon race pace.

One Week to Go

The countdown to competition has really begun! Your overall weekly volume and daily workouts should be 50% or less than your normal mileage.

With about 4 days to go do an easy 30- to 40-minute run, spiced up with 4x 2min at marathon pace. This will prime your neuromuscular system for the big day ahead.

Day Before the Race

We’re big fans of getting out for an easy 2 to 3 mile easy run on the morning before the event. Finish this last session with 5x 20 second strides.

A properly managed taper will allow you to perform at your best. Follow this proven plan, trust the process, and have a fantastic day on December 5!

Essential takeaways

With CIM quickly approaching, it’s time to put the finishing touches on your marathon preparation. After months of hard work, you now must slowly reduce your running volume and intensity to ensure that you arrive at the start line refreshed, confident, and fit.  

This period is commonly referred to as the “taper”, and it can make or break your race day performance. The purpose of the taper is to allow your body to repair and replenish itself, so that you can reap the rewards of your training.