How To Taper For a Half-Marathon

Hi, everyone!  Happy Thursday!  Between yesterday and today—and the day before that, and the day before that, etc.—my Olympic fever continues to run rampant.


Khatuna Lorig did some serious work this morning.  Did you know she taught Jennifer Lawrence how to shoot for The Hunger Games?  Can’t complain if your teacher is a four-time archery Olympian, right?


I set my alarm for 6 a.m. this morning and headed out for my last pre-half-marathon long run at 6:30 a.m.  At 12.2 miles, this is the longest distance I’ve covered, but this will obviously change on Aug. 9.

Minus the challenging incline between miles three and five, I felt pretty good, so I feel prepared for next Thursday.  And with seven days to go, it’s taper time.  I’ll come back to this in a minute.


Like yesterday morning, I multitasked during breakfast—Olympics and overnight oats for the win!

Today’s bowl contained two scoops of PB, lemon Chobani yogurt, 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats, 1/3 cup of almond milk, cinnamon, and chia seeds.  Sorry I’ve been boring with my breakfasts lately—I just love overnight oats!

How To Taper

So, my first half-marathon is one week away!  Gulp.

Because I will be running 13.1 miles in seven days, I’m beginning to taper.  What exactly does this mean? calls it a period of training at decreased mileage before race day:

“Taper is a time of rest and reduced workouts prior to a race.  During this time, your body rebuilds, refuels, and recovers from the weeks of hard training you have completed.  Research has found that reducing training before competition allows muscle tissue damage to heal and the body’s energy reserves to replenish.”

Experts say you won’t lose fitness during this period of R&R; in fact, it will ensure you have fresh legs on race-day.  For a half-marathon, Runner’s World recommends a taper length of 10-14 days.  However, since I’ve been training for a half-marathon and sprint triathlon simultaneously—and the events actually occur within a four-day span—I wanted to delay my taper.  Here’s a look at the final four weeks of Hal Higdon’s intermediate half-marathon plan I’ve been following.

Up to this point, I’ve been logging 20-25 miles per week, but from now until Thursday, I might run around 10 miles.  Runner’s World says my final running workout, a two-mile run, is especially important—I should run these miles at race pace, and then taking the following two days completely off.

How do you taper before a race?  What’s your tapering progression?  Do you do anything different when you taper?

5 responses to “How To Taper For a Half-Marathon

  1. I’ve only run one half marathon, and I did not taper at all….oops. I kind of had no idea what I was doing, but I did know that it was important to run 10 miles non-stop before the race, so I ran it the weekend before I ran! I actually got a decent time for my first half (2:13 and some change), so I’m expecting a better time now that I have a little more education! I’m following this same training plan (I start Monday) for my half in November!

    • Even though you aren’t supposed to set time goals for your first half-marathon, I’m hoping to finish in the two-hour ballpark like you did. I really like the portion of the Hal Higdon plan I’ve been following, so you’ll have to let me know how following the entire plan goes. 🙂

  2. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


  3. Pingback: Full-On Tapering | Fitness and Frozen Grapes

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