How to Train for a Race
Take Time to Taper
Relax Now, Results Later
After three or more months of hard marathon training, you'd think runners would embrace the R&R of the taper. Not always. Both veterans and newcomers often find it difficult to scale back their mileage, kick up their feet, and coast into race day. (Search: How many miles should you run each week?) "Runners have to understand that they won't be fat by Thursday or lose their fitness by Sunday," says Janet Hamilton, MA, CSCS, an exercise physiologist at Running Strong in Atlanta. "One of the best gifts you can give yourself is well-rested legs on race day."
To get those rested legs, coaches typically recommend a taper of two to three weeks. Whether you're aiming simply to finish your first 26.2 or to nail a time goal, here's how to navigate those final weeks so you arrive at the starting line raring to go.