Most runners are familiar with term “taper” meaning reducing your running mileage as you approach your goal race. Have you ever thought about your Reverse Taper? A reverse taper is just the opposite. Post race, a reverse taper would have you going from lighter training back to your normal training load.
How to do a Reverse Taper after a half marathon
One of the biggest mistakes that I have seen runners in my MRTT group make is to minimize the importance of recovery and the reverse taper. I have made the mistake myself of not taking a proper recovery and jumping right back into my training post half marathon. This can lead to exhaustion, poor performance, over training and the dreaded injury. Recovery starts as soon as you cross the finish line.
There are differing opinions on when to return to running after a big race. I came up with my own 2 week Reverse Taper after a half marathon to share with you today. This is a suggestion based on my own training, experience and opinion. Please use your own judgement to decide if this plan is right for you.
Week one I suggest light walking, stretching and massage at the beginning of the week. Adding in light cross training in the form of swimming, cycling, elliptical for example for Tuesday through Friday. Resuming running on the weekend with an easy 3-5 mile run.
Week Two We add back in 3-4 mile runs twice during the week. Cross training and rest days make up the rest of the week. Saturday/Sunday add back in a 4-6 mile run. Assuming you are feeling good, resume your normal training load for week 3.
I know that many runners will look at this plan and think, “I don’t need to take that much rest after a half marathon”. While that may be true, what do you have to lose? Increasing your training load before your body has a chance to recover both mentally and physically can set you up for fatigue, over training, performance loss, and injuries. You trained hard to make it to the start line and the finish line. Post race recover and reverse tapering are just as important for long term running success.
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So tell me, do you take your reverse taper seriously? Come on be honest, I won’t judge!