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The Do’s And Don’ts Of Tapering

Learn the real meaning of "rest, don't rust."

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Logging that last long run on your training schedule before heading into the taper can be exhilarating. You may even feel like celebrating having made it through the bulk of your training plan. While you should be proud of all you’ve accomplished in your training thus far, try not to forget that just because it’s taper time doesn’t meant you can sit back and relax.

It can be easy to sit back and not do anything during the taper, but it is an important part of the training process. You don’t want to do too much, but you don’t want to do too little either.

“Rest, don’t rust” is a popular phrase running coaches repeat over and over again to their runners and it’s a great statement to keep in mind when you’re tapering for a race.

After weeks and months of training it’s important to know how to handle these final weeks of training to ensure you have the best race possible. Follow these do’s and don’ts during your taper.


  • Stay off your feet more so than normal. If you wear an activity tracker, this is one time period where you want your daily step count to be lower than normal.
  • Eat a healthy amount of carbohydrates.
  • Stick to your training schedule.
  • Wear flats as much as possible and avoid wearing heels.
  • Get a lot of sleep.
  • Focus on positive mental imagery by visualizing your perfect race day.
  • Trust that if you completed 90 percent of your training runs, you will make it to the finish line on race day.
  • Stop strength training for the two weeks leading up to the race to give your body a chance to recover completely.
  • Reduce the volume of your total weekly mileage.


  • Avoid carbs or try to lose weight. You’ll need all the energy you can get on race day.
  • Try any new type of exercise in your spare time. For example, if you haven’t been to yoga at all during training, don’t go during the taper.
  • Dismiss your training plan. Every workout is on your schedule for a reason.
  • Wear shoes to work or out at night that may cause blisters or foot pain.
  • Stress out about the weather or anything else that isn’t within your control.
  • Panic if you feel sluggish or tired. It’s normal to feel sluggish throughout the taper.
  • Don’t eat any questionable foods. This is not the time to see if expiration dates on food packages really matter or not.
  • Stress about the workouts you didn’t complete during training. Instead focus on what you were able to accomplish.

Read More From Race Pace Jess:
Short On Time? 3 Runs You Can Do On Busy Days
What To Do In The Final Minutes Before The Start Of A Race

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