How to: Cut back on the week before a half marathon

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The week before a half marathon can make or break one’s performance. Months of training can be wasted trying to do one last workout. On the other hand, resting too much in the week before a half marathon (or even the week before a 5K) can leave one feeling flat and low on race day.

Tapering is a microcycle of training typically done the week before a key event like a half marathon or 5K. Longer events like marathons or ultramarathons require longer tapers. Setting up for an event is one of the most complicated and mysterious aspects of athletic performance.

Learn the seven most common set-up mistakes people make the week before a half marathon. Follow the training plan from the week before the race to arrive fresh, fit and fast at the starting line!

Avoid the 7 most common set-up mistakes the week before a half marathon

Slowing down for a half marathon the week before is easy to mess up. Don’t Make These Seven Mistakes!

1. Training too much before the race

Many amateur runners think it’s good to train hard until the race, especially in the last few weeks. But these efforts backfire. Standing at first feeling tired is a recipe for disaster.

Instead of, decrease total training volume by 30-50% in the week before a half marathon, but not the number of intensity sessions. For example, if the total distance covered two weeks before the event was 50 km, the total distance must not be greater than 35 to 25 km in the last week before the event.

The intensity should not drop drastically despite the drop in total distance. For example, if a training plan typically calls for two days of intensity per week, continue to do those two days of intense training during the last week before the event.

Reduce the number of intervals in a session by 20% of what they were in the last hard week of training. Even though overall running distance decreases, intensity can actually increase relative to total distance.

The bottom line: a good set-up focuses on quality, not quantity. Do short, fast runs; decrease the total training distance by reducing the endurance run distance.

A good half marathon training plan will have a built-in taper. Look at this FREE half marathon training plan pdf for a good example. adidas Running premium members also receive exclusive access to customizable 5k marathon training plans.

corridor in the city

2. Not doing any exercise

Tapering off and reducing training volumes doesn’t mean you should kick your feet up and stop exercising. The hard part of the taper is not losing the fitness and pace endurance you’ve built up. The best way to avoid this is to reduce your mileage and focus on short, intense training sessions.

In the last week, it is important to do one more hard training four or five days before the race. This is designed to give your muscles one last training boost and prepare your body for the demands of the next race.

Maintaining intensity while reducing training volume in the week prior to a half marathon has been shown to be an effective reduction strategy for most athletes.[1]

3. Strength training and unknown exercises

At week before a half marathon avoid strength training and unknown exercises. fatigued and/or sore muscles can quickly jeopardize performance. of course continue do stretching and mobilization exercises if they have been a regular part of the training.

An exercise that could be beneficial in the week leading up to a half marathon is a meditation exercise. Athletes often develop performance anxiety due to the upcoming event and abundance of energy (if they are declining correctly). Meditation can help the mind prepare for the demands ahead.

Try the following meditation guided by professional ultramarathon runner Timothy Olson:

Garment

4. Team change the week before an event

Never change any team the week before a key race! This goes from running shoes to nutrition and sports diet. New running shoes can cause an injury that prevents you from even starting a half marathon. Sports nutrition can lead to cramps or gastrointestinal problems that ruin a race.

Remember:

Always, always test race gear and strategy in training or a practice run before a key event!

5. Poor diet and alcohol consumption

Letting the diet slip away the week before a big event is tempting. The body is busy replenishing glycogen stores, appetite is high, but total calorie expenditure should have decreased. This can lead one to give in to sugar cravings, especially if one is nervous about the upcoming event.

Now it’s more important than ever to eat like an athlete. Give your body the nutrients it needs to cool off before putting on an amazing performance. Here are the Nine best foods for runners. Don’t skimp on carbs the two days leading up to the event and use this carbohydrate calculator.

Important:

Don’t try to lose weight in the week before a big event.

Taking an extra drink or two can feel good and promote relaxation; however, it can also cause sleep deprivation and dehydration. If peak performance is on the line, skip the last drink the week before a half marathon.

6. Not getting enough sleep

Sleep is crucial in all phases of training, but especially in the week leading up to a half marathon. If one has been training hard, the body needs sleep to rebuild and regenerate.

Race nerves can keep athletes from getting a good night’s sleep before a big event. Here are some practical tips for getting fantastic sleep during this crucial week:

  • Go to bed an hour earlier than usual
  • Wake up an hour later than usual
  • Take a nap during the day.
  • Meditate instead of lying in bed awake if you have trouble sleeping
  • If sleep doesn’t come (especially the night before the event), just keep your eyes closed and focus on your breath.
  • Don’t stress about not getting enough sleep (this will cause sleep problems itself)

7. Catch up with life

Training for an event sometimes means putting aside other factors in life for a while. Weeding the garden, helping the kids with homework, cooking dinner, or finishing a big project at work takes energy. It can be tempting to finally address those life factors that have been put off during training, as tapering off means less time spent training.

Don’t think of tapering as less training time, but more recovery time. Because recovery is also training, all those projects can wait one more week. Don’t feel guilty about putting your feet up on the couch or sneaking off for a nap. Ask members to continue to understand for another week and assure them that their understanding will mean a lot.

Narrowing plans for common distances

The reduction is very individual. Take notes on how the drawdown is going for various events to find the ideal drawdown strategy. The following half marathon taper training plan is a great starting point for finding the perfect taper strategy. It is built for a race that takes place on Sunday. For a Saturday event, shift all workouts to the left one day (eg, recover on Sunday before the race, then do the slow long-distance run on Monday instead of Tuesday as shown).

reduction plans

Plan 1: 5k

Monday – recovery day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Tuesday Long Distance Slow Run
30-45 minutes

Wednesday – Make-up day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Thursday – Interval or Tempo Training
10-minute warm-up jog
5 x 3 min 5K target pace with 3 min rest jogging
10 minute cool down jog

Friday – Make-up day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Saturday – Short race with accelerations
10-15 minutes of total running
Include 3-5 accelerations building speed to near max sprint over 100m

Sunday – RACE DAY

Plan 2: 10k

Monday – recovery day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Tuesday Long Distance Slow Run
30-45 minutes

Wednesday – Make-up day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Thursday – Interval or Tempo Training
10-minute warm-up jog
4 x 5 min 10km target pace with 3 min rest jogging
10 minute cool down jog

Friday – Make-up day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Saturday – Short race with accelerations
10-15 minutes of total running
Include 3-5 accelerations building speed to near max sprint over 100m

Sunday – RACE DAY

Plan 3: Half Marathon

Monday – Make-up day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Tuesday Long Distance Slow Run
40-60 minutes

Wednesday – Make-up day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Thursday – Interval or Tempo Training
10-minute warm-up jog
3-5 km at half marathon target pace
10 minute cool down jog

Friday – Make-up day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Saturday – Short race with accelerations
20-30 min of total running
Include 2-4 sprints building speed to near max sprint over 100m

Sunday – RACE DAY

Plan 4: Marathon

Monday – Make-up day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Tuesday Long Distance Slow Run
40-60 minutes

Wednesday – Make-up day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Thursday – Interval or Tempo Training
10-minute warm-up jog
5 km at target marathon pace
10 minute cool down jog

Friday – Make-up day
Light jogging or easy stretching. Take a nap.

Saturday – Short race with accelerations
20-30 min of total running
Include 2-3 accelerations building speed to near max sprint over 100m

Sunday – RACE DAY

corridor in the city

race day

Do you have a race coming up? We wish you good luck and lots of fun.

If the set-up for a half marathon has gone well, a personal best on race day is much safer. But even an incredible set-up won’t outweigh a bad strategy on race day. Check out the following posts to learn how to ensure a successful race day:

Train well for the next event:

go to the adidas Running app Now start training today!

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