12 Taper Tips



Let’s be completely honest.  I am writing this list, because I am the worst at tapering.  I love to run, so I am not a fan of forced rest.  However, after this round of Chicago training…I’m actually looking forward to dialing back for a bit.  I am not addressing nutrition specifics like carb depletion/loading or specific mileage numbers.  Do what’s best for your body.

That said…here’s to avoiding the Taper Tantrums!!!


1.  Cut back your volume.  There are lots of differing views on how much to taper your miles, but most runners start reducing their weekly mileage two weeks before the race.

2.  Resist the urge to try something new on race day.  With your newfound free time, it’s so easy to start researching new products.  Stick to the shoes, nutrition, pre-run routine that has worked for you over the last few months.

3.  Don’t be surprised if you feel some new aches and pains during the taper.  Your body is repairing itself from your months of training.


4.  Prepare your race plan.  Review the course map.  Visualize the race.  Think through your race morning routine.

5.  Sleep is an important part of the taper.  Shoot for 8 hours a night.

6.  Do not try to cram in a missed long run.  Training hard this close to your race will not improve your performance.


7.  It’s ok to keep some intensity in your training, but nothing too extreme.  Add a few miles at race pace to remind your body what it feels like.

8.  Don’t drastically slash calories during the taper.   Yes, you are running less, but you don’t want to feel weak on race day.

9.  Catch up on tasks that you’re behind on, but DON’T do any strenuous projects. This is not the time to paint the house or plant a garden. Your social life may have become non-existent during training.  Take this time to get together with friends and catch up on new movies.


10.  Make sure you’re hydrating properly.

11.  Don’t add any new workouts/cross-training.  If you didn’t do tempo runs during your training, don’t do one now.  This is also not the time to try that new kickboxing class.

12.  Trust your training.  It’s so easy to second guess yourself.  Did I run enough miles?  Did I hit my paces?  You put in the work.  Have faith in the process!


How do you handle the taper? Share your tips and stories!


Join the Conversation

  • KickAshMom

    You’ve done the hard part physically, now it’s the mental part. Tapper in is a tricky mental business!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      You’re so right!

  • Annie @ What’s Annie Making

    YES! To all of the above. I hate tapering too, and I usually start to doubt myself that taking it easier will mean that I won’t be good on race day, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    • jenchoosesjoy

      I mentally understand it, but actually properly tapering is such a challenge! Typing this post was such a good reminder for me :)

  • Al Frazier

    The hay is in the barn.

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Love it!!!

  • susan @2chixrun26

    The last “real” taper for me was last year before I ran Marine Corps–they are so tough mentally for me. Let’s just say my closets had never been cleaner:) You will do great at Chicago!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      I’ve been making a list of little tasks that can keep me busy. My closets will look great!!

  • Running ‘N’ Reading

    It’s so hard for me to kick those doubts sometimes, Jennifer; this is a great reminder that the training has been completed and my body is ready! Thank you for the great tips!

    • jenchoosesjoy

      Thank you!!! It’s so much easier said than done:)

  • Michele @ PaleoRunningMomma

    One of my first posts was something just like this as I was tapering for Boston last April! I can totally relate to all of it. I even started my blog on somewhat of a whim while facing the taper :)

    • jenchoosesjoy

      A blog is the perfect taper distraction!

  • Cecilia @ MommiesRun

    I have a love/hate relationship with taper, just like most runners, but I’m determined to do it right this year before St. Jude!

  • Marilyn

    Great post – and very timely for me! I have actually welcomed the taper in this training cycle, which tells me I am ready for a little “time off” from a structured training plan.

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