You've trained hard put the miles in and ticked most runs off of the plan. It's now time to sit back do a few low mileage runs at a gentle pace and reap the rewards of all that hard work, or is it?
It's not just about cutting back the mileage either. For some the training programme may have included strength and conditioning work, riding your bike, swimming and other types of cross training do we cut back on this aswell?
The research I've read tells me that tapering is essential for a successful race? Some studies indicate that tapering properly can mean a 3 percent improvement in performance; which in running terms means a possible PR!
In addition tapering according to research allows muscle glycogen stores to return to peak levels. Metabolic enzymes, antioxidants, and various hormones, depleted during training, return to their optimal ranges. Muscle and connective tissues repair and strengthen. And, supposedly the body’s immune system improves dramatically too. In short, tapering allows your body to prepare for peak performance.
What about the mind, how do people cope psychology when training slows right down? Anyone got any tried and trusted distraction techniques?
My question is what do you think? Do you taper because your told it's the right thing to do or do you believe in what research tells us? How do you cope with tapering? Do you cut all activities back or is it just running? Or do you just carry on with the same routine right up to race day?