I'm fairly convinced of the merits of tapering for a marathon - generally a three week taper (agreed?), but I am wondering about shorter races. For a half-marathon, I think I would generally leave out more intensive/longer sessions in the final week before a race, but I am wondering if there is a limit. I reckon I run a faster 5k when I have actually had a more intensive week of training focussing on keying into a race pace.

So, is there an argument for "inverse tapering" at shorter distances, but switch to regular tapering for longer races? If so, when should you do which?


  • A two week taper is generally excepted as a taper for a marathon. An easy week leading up to a half marathon. Easy last half of the week for a 10k or a 5K. 

  • Before a target 5k or 10k I would probably just cut the volume, but not the intensity, of the tough sessions in the last week and maybe cut the volume of the easy runs a few days before. I personally have a day off 2 days before and an easy 3-4 miles day before.

    I would say you were just on good form for those fast 5k's and you probably would have been a few seconds quicker still if you had tapered for a few days. 

  • I know someone who raced hard 10ks back to back last year. One Saturday and One Sunday. This year the races were a week apart so he had a decent rest. His time for the second one was slower this year - so maybe tapering isnt as important as we think. Or it could be a fluke. Who knows ?
  • I would say that tapering for longer disatnces is a given, in my opinion. The shorter races, its just a case of not being over tired. I used to race 5 races in 5 days but I would taper the week befroe to prepare for the 5 races. Often race 5 would be a PB.

  • Don`t think about it so much as `tapering` but `peaking`. In order to peak for an event, there`s a good chance that training ought to be less in volume to ensure fatigue is not a negative factor so I`d `taper` for any race that I wanted to perform well in.

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