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Personify Fitness

Avoid Maranoia: Taper FAQs

In Ben’s latest article, he discusses tips and frequently asked questions on avoiding “Maranoia” – the fear of something going wrong before a marathon.

Tapering refers to reducing the training intensity and volume before a race and is individual specific, below are some questions and Personify Fitness Training Group answers to help you master this part of your training.

Typically we recommend anywhere between 2 to 3 weeks depending on the event (10km to Marathon). An efficient taper has been found to increase performance by up to 3 percent by repairing micro cellular muscle damage and replenishing glycogen stores (Source: Advanced Marathoning, Pete Pfitzinger)

Race distance v recommended taper time:

5km/10km = 1 week

10 mile to Half Marathon = 2 weeks

20 miles to Marathon = 3 weeks

*This is simply the Personify Fitness guide and can differ slightly per athlete ability, experience and if they carry any niggles.

For bespoke plans on this contact Personify Fitness coaches for more details.

Reaching the the start line with fresh legs in peak fitness, nutritionally sound and best prepared mentally for the challenge ahead.

Unless experiencing niggles, this is not ideal. We find this will likely impact your confidence as well as undo some of the hard work you’ve put into the last months of training.

If you are used to speed sessions in training, we’d recommend reducing training load of session, but maintaining the high intensity and the frequency of these. These will be removed if niggles below the neck are apparent. For example instead of a typical 3 x 8 minute lactic threshold paced run, reduce this down to 2 x 6 minutes or look to reduce your normal 2 sessions down to one and have this at the beginning of the week.

Maranoia is a term referred to pre-marathon (often exacerbated during taper) or endurance racing paranoia. This is characterised by the irrational belief that last-minute disaster is imminent.

Tips to avoid this is to fill your spare time with distracting jobs. Especially those that reduce anxious thoughts, build confidence and make you feel in control and more prepared. Examples may include preparing final registration paperwork, ensure nutrition is stocked and clothes and washed and ready.

This is determined by your race distance, fitness ability and condition. The goal here should be to maintain cardiovascular fitness but not put any more load through your muscles and joints that are likely tired from recently completing the peak mileage stage of your training plan.

This is variable by the distance and intensity of the upcoming event. Your carbohydrate intake should reduce primarily as volume of training reduces then steadily increase towards the event. See our Personify Fitness: Energise v Carbicide article .

Ideally 500ml- 1L more than usual daily but is individualistic. As you increase carbohydrates look to increase your hydration levels.

Check your urine colour for hydration levels here:

For more information on hydration, see our article Hell Yes, H20 .

Ideally wear your race clothes and trainers for training early in the week to ensure they are comfortable and not causing any sores, blisters or issues that would affect your race. The key here is to ensure nothing is new on race day but all clothing is clean and in race condition.

‘Recover, Rebuild, Re-taper’ is the Personify Fitness process here. The number one goal here should be injury prevention, not progression (that would be a bonus but should not be the priority).

Recover first week to two weeks:

It is key that you replenish glycogen stores, repair well with protein intake and have a light massage pre event. Low impact through joints in this stage.

Rebuild from week 2 to week 3:

Gradually use low impact exercise such as swimming and cycling to loosen legs, use massage sticks and foam rolling to recondition legs with the goal of a light tempo run in the middle of this process.

Taper final two weeks:

Gradually reduce training load, intensity and get weekly massages on the return to race fitness.

Visualisation of running through certain parts and finishing the race strong with great form and achieving your target goal. Look back over your best training runs and boost confidence. Sleep well (see our article on improving sleep) and believe in the process that has got you here.

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