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As we approach the last few weeks of training for the spring marathons, many of you will be starting to think about the ‘taper’ phase of your training - those final three weeks before the race itself when you run less, and rest more, to arrive at the start feeling strong and raring to go!
Click here for more information on Taper Time.
Many runners find this period challenging. They worry about losing fitness and are tempted to carry on training right up to marathon day. But research clearly shows that during this period, aerobic capacity, one of the best measures of fitness, does not actually change, and that it is rest, rather than more training, that allows you to feel great on marathon day.
Also, during the taper, levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones, reduced by high mileage, return to their optimal range, muscle damage is repaired, muscle strength improves and the immune system gets stronger again.
Furthermore, a large review of studies showed that runners who taper improve their average performance in the marathon by 3%!
Be sure to taper properly so that you don’t waste all those hard weeks of work you’ve completed since Christmas. You can find plenty of advice on how to adapt your running during the taper period on The Running Bug. In this article we’re concentrating on what to do for your three-week nutritional taper.
Nutritional Taper – 3 Weeks to Go
Runners often feel good in the first week of the taper as their training load starts to fall. For the nutritional taper:
Here’s a suggested approach for daily food planning in this week. Look back at:
for more detail of portion sizes.
Daily Food Plan
Nutritional Taper – 2 Weeks to Go
The second week of the taper is probably the toughest as the effects of a change of training regime really start to kick in. You may feel more tired and a little sluggish which can make you even more worried about losing fitness. But, keep to your taper plan and do not start to train harder. If you’ve been including weight training or conditioning in your plan, make sure you’ve stopped by now to conserve energy and avoid injury.
From a nutritional perspective:
Nutritional Taper – 1 Week to Go
We’ll be focusing in detail on this week in a couple of week’s time but, for now, start to prepare yourself mentally by reminding yourself that you have done the right training and are now doing the right taper to achieve your marathon goal.
For your nutritional taper:
Action plan for this week
Think ahead and plan:
About Jane Nodder and Nutriworks
Jane Nodder works as a nutrition lecturer and clinic tutor on the MSc and BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy programmes at the University of Westminster, London. A qualified UK Athletics Leader in Running Fitness, Jane started running in 1986. As a club runner she runs track, cross-country, road, trail and endurance events and has completed eleven marathons, taking her PB from 4h21 to 3h37. Through her business, Nutriworks, Jane coaches groups and individuals in running and in translating general sports nutrition guidelines into practical, individualised nutrition programmes.
In 2010, Jane was awarded the Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) Award for Individual Excellence in Nutritional Knowledge, and in December 2011 she gained the Yakult Prize for Outstanding Student of the Year for the MSc Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey.
For more information about running and nutrition coaching services from Nutriworks, visit www.nutriworks.co.uk or contact Jane directly on 07850 705848 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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