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The Last Two Weeks

The Runners Forum

In many ways, how you handle the final two weeks leading up to your big race is just as important, if not more so, as the months you spent training for it. You will hear the word ‘taper’ thrown around this time of year. Taper refers to the rest period before your hardest effort, whether a triathlon, marathon, half marathon, or other distance race/event. Here are a few suggestions to guide you through this subtle, but vital stage of your race preparation. These simple suggestions will help ensure that race day is a celebratory culmination of the work you put in, and not a disappointing ride on the struggle bus.

Do not:

Try to squeeze in a few more long runs: Two weeks out from your goal race, the hay is already in the proverbial barn. No matter what you do, you won’t be able to increase your aerobic fitness in such a narrow window. On the contrary, you run the risk of stepping up to the start line tired, and unable to run to your full potential. Think of these last two weeks as a maintenance phase, protect the fitness you’ve earned by continuing to do some easy to medium distance runs. Save your last big effort for race day.

Try anything new: Did your favorite shoe just get its yearly facelift? Check it out at the Runners Forum AFTER the race. Want to try that cool new pair of shorts? Don’t. Think the Salted Carmel GU gel is a better way to go? Three strikes. It’s important to stick with what you know in the last two weeks. At this point in your training, go with what you know, and avoid any unpleasant race day surprises.

Stop running: There is definitely such a thing as resting too much. Completely scaling back your training will leave you feeling flat and out of sync. Maintaining 50%-60% of your max training volume in the final weeks should leave you rested, but ready to get after it on race day.


Practice your race day routine: Plan to start some of your training runs the same time the race will start. This will get your body ready to put forth a good effort early in the morning, and allow you to practice your race day breakfast and hydration routine.

Train with the nutrition you’ll race with: Finding the nutrition that works best for you can be a process of trial and error. Two weeks away from the race, you should have your favorite fueling products dialed in and ready to go. Practice taking gels on your runs in the final days to make sure it won’t upset your stomach.

Re-center, and find your motivation: The last two weeks before a big effort is a great time to reflect on why you began this journey in the first place. Whether it was to shed some winter pounds, to set a PR, or just prove to yourself that you could do it, find your motivation and focus on it. This will pull you through those daunting final miles. When you find yourself struggling physically, rely on mental toughness as well as the support of friends and family to pull you through it.


Questions? We have been there before, stop by your nearest locally owned Runners Forum, and we will talk you through it.

The Runners Forum

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