Marathon Taper Tips Tuesday

Hello! After a 5k, 10k and half marathon this weekend a rest day was in order. So, all I did yesterday was take a short walk to prevent my legs from getting tight. I even found this walking stick to help me get going…

walking stick (287x510)

This morning I started my day with a 6 mile check in run. I’m feeling okay after the hilly half marathon this weekend.

6 mile run (287x510)

Breakfast: I am obsessed with cream cheese plus pumpkin butter on toast.

breakfast pumpkin butter toast (800x450)

Marathon Taper Time!

The New York City Marathon is less than 2 weeks away now! That means it’s time to taper.

Taper is the 2-3 week period before a half marathon or marathon when you run less to let your legs recover and rest before the race. This means shorter mid-week and weekend runs, which can be awesome or stressful depending on how you look at it.

Some people worry their training wasn’t enough or they want to squeeze in one last long run before the race so they’ll be better prepared. Stop and really think about it before you do that…

It is better to be 10% under-trained then 1% over-trained on race day.

marathon taper rules

And that brings me to my Marathon Taper Tips….

1. Trust your training. I know training doesn’t always go smoothly. Sometimes we miss a run due to illness, travel, weather, life… it’s okay. A marathon training program is usually 12-16 weeks – life happens in that time. As long as you got in most of your runs and your body is healthy, you are all set.

2. Prepare your mental game. You have some free time since you are not running as much – use it to think about a positive mantra. Watch Spirit of the Marathon or something else that will pump you up!

Do a visualization exercise – close your eyes and imagine yourself crossing the finish line! How will that feel?

3. Fuel up and Hydrate. The BEST part of marathon taper time is that you get to CARB LOAD. Do it and do it well.

4. Go through your checklist. There is a lot of nervous energy going on before a marathon. Doubtful thoughts can creep in, “Can I do it?” “What if I hit the wall…” “What if I fail?!”

You don’t know what is going to happen on race day. But stressing about it doesn’t help.

Take some of that worry off your mind by focusing on the things you can control – do you know how to get to the race? do you have your race day gear set out? what are you going to eat race morning?

5. Rest! Put your feet up and rest. The goal of taper is to show up to race day feeling 110% – so make that happen with plenty of rest and good fuel.

Check out the ING Runner’s Nation Facebook page to see how others are tapering!

time to taper before nycm

Good luck!

Question: Anyone doing MCM or NYCM or another race coming up? How are you tapering?

Q #2: Do you want to borrow my awesome walking stick?

>> Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for my Gym Bag, Yoga block and more!


  1. says

    I’m doing the MCM this weekend! My first marathon! I’m struggling through the taper. It feels weird to not be running that much! I’m feeling lazy, but I know it’s the right thing to do. I’m of course getting the taper crazies: constantly doubting my training, and over-thinking everything.

  2. says

    I’m doing MCM this Sunday and I’m SOOO pumped for it! It’s my first marathon, so I’m super nervous as well.

    I took a rest day yesterday, and just took a walk/ran a tiny bit this morning. Tomorrow, I’m probably going on a bike ride tomorrow, rest Thurs and Fri (I’m traveling), then an easy shake-out run on Saturday. I’m gonna make sure I’m well-rested, and will definitely enjoy the carb-loading! Haha I just came back from Whole Foods with bagels and a large loaf of bread 😛

  3. says

    I can’t wait to hear your MCM recap. I’m hoping to run that one someday…
    I’ll be at NYCM!!!! I’m in Wave 4 Orange. I’ll be with the 5 hour pacer. Good taper tips! I just got my dad to agree to pick me up after the NYCM to get me home. But I still don’t have someone to take me to the start. LOL! I better get on that. Good thing I live in Staten Isl. So my logistics are not as nightmarish as everyone else. Last time I got dropped off about 1 mile away and just walked. Hey! What’s 1 extra mile when I gotta do 26 more.

  4. says

    that’s quite the walking stick…I feel like I should be doing some epic hikes in the Rockies when using such an enormous walking stick…

    No more tapering! I did my big race of the fall season on Sunday (RnR Denver 13.1) and now I’m recovering for a few days. After that I’ll be getting back into training for the Winter Distance Series here in Denver.

  5. says

    I am not doing MCM but my husband is and I am going there with him! It is always a little stressful in our house the week before a marathon because he hates tapering and he hates waiting :)

    Looking forward to the weekend in DC though!

  6. Kaylie says

    such great timing on this… my first marathon is in 10(!!!!!) days and i’m scared to death. i got in all my long runs and felt pretty darn good, but some of my midweek training suffered over the past couple of weeks. i just need to trust that my body can do it (and of course watch spirit of the marathon another three times before race day).

  7. lisa says

    doing the Philadelphia marathon in november. This is the last week before the taper. i am actually pretty excited for it, especially due to some foot soreness but bet it will be weird. I need to try pumpkin butter with cream cheese. sounds good!

  8. Sarah G. says

    My taper starts next week! I have my last 20-miler this Saturday and then I start cutting down mileage for the Philly Marathon on Nov. 17th! Unlike a lot of people (or at least people I know and/or run with) I look forward to taper time. It gives me time to focus my nervous energy on other things leading up to race day and, of course, means the race is almost here!!

  9. Jenny says

    I do not have any races coming up. Looking forward to spring to get my first half in! You have some great tips on tapering that I’ll have to look back on!
    I love your walking stick! Would work perfect here in Illinois during mushroom season!

  10. Denise says

    I’m headed back home to NYC for the weekend to watch the marathon and check out the expo, can’t wait to cheer for you as you PR :)

  11. says

    I’m doing NYCM and I’ve been tapering since yesterday. I’m hating every minute of it! I’m so excited that it’s being impossible to keep my pace under contol. Plus, carb loading is not that much fun if you want to do it right: no sweets, no cheese, no alcohol, no fried food, no nothing. Ugh :(

  12. says

    Great blog posting. I am doing the Las Vegas RnR marathon on 11/17 – so, my taper is coming up soon. It’s my very first marathon and I am definitely excited.

  13. says

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time! My first half marathon is this weekend and I feel like my training is going to be lost because I’ve tapered off. Thanks for the encouraging words and congrats on your super impressive running weekend!!

  14. Annette says

    I am running MCM this weekend! This is my second marathon and I think I am more nervous about this one than my first – mainly because I wasn’t able to run as much because it is so darn hot in Florida and because I didn’t really follow a trianing plan – just hit the long runs. Ahh! I am hoping for the best and just trying to STAY CALM!

  15. says

    I’m running Philly the week after NYC – no taper yet because I still haven’t done my long run. I am, however, inspired by the way you combine travel and training because I actually have to do a 22-mile training run in Chicago this weekend…and it’s supposed to be cold…

  16. says

    Great tips Monica! I’m not doing either race but I totally agree on all of these, especially the first point about trusting your training. And, doing everything I can to prep ahead of time and ensure that I’m not stressed out on the day of the race is key. Enjoy your taper!

  17. says

    I’m also doing MCM! It is my first marathon as well. So nervous right now, it is unreal. I did my last double digit run on Saturday, took two days off because of a literal pain in my butt (Ha!) and ran 5 miles today with 4 at proposed marathon pace . The rest of the week is easy running. Frankly, I’m not minding the tapering because my body was pretty tired. Good luck everybody!

  18. Bryanna says

    Running Vegas! First half marathon so nervous! Love the walking stick, but most important question, where did you find pumpkin butter!?!!?

  19. Debbie says

    Running MCM this weekend. It’s my first marathon and I’m really needing this taper. My body is ready to run this marathon! So excited! My hubby and I are running together until mile 20, and then we’ll see if one of us wants to go ahead. I think it would be fun to cross the finish line together though…

  20. Van says

    I’m running the MCM this weekend. This will be my 4th marathon, and tapering has worked great for me so far. The one thing about training I learned the hard way was you must get at least one 20 mile long run in. For my second, the longest long run I did was 17 miles, and I bonked bigtime at mile 18. The last 8 miles were torturous. Feeling pretty good for the MCM.

  21. says

    I appreciate all the advice you give! I’ve recently started getting back into running after a year off and it’s very helpful. I know sometimes I over-do it so thanks for the reminder to taper.

    Oh and I would love to borrow that walking stick, maybe for a race. Then people could only pass me if they wanted to limbo!

  22. says

    I’m doing NYC as well – it would be great to meet you! I did a 13.1 mile run this past weekend and plan to run 10 this upcoming weekend. During the week I’m mixing it up with shorter runs. Yesterday I did Bikram Yoga, today I ran 3.5, tomorrow I plan on running ~4, thursday I may take off, Friday another ~4. Saturday off and Sunday 10. Monday 4, Tuesday 4, Wednesday 3, Thursday….3?, Friday off (travel day), Saturday maybe something short… Sunday RACE DAY!

    Also, I learned an excellent trick last year which led to a personal record being set at the Philly Marathon — two nights before the big race get as much sleep as you can and also carb up. The night before your race have salmon, maybe some pasta, roasted potatoes, veggies, salad, and a glass of wine (to calm your nerves). Getting that added protein the night before works wonders.

    Got my runner’s handbook in the mail today – can’t wait for new york!!

  23. says

    I think this is great advice! I usually try to cram too many runs in my last couple weeks… typically because I didn’t train well enough, but I like your quote about how being 10% under trained is better than 1% over. Good stuff!


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