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Get Ready for Race Day

Up to four weeks before a race athletes enter the reduction phase of training load known as the taper. Here Elite Fitness explain one approach to this crucial phase of race preparation.

Evidence of the efficacy of a taper from academic research is plentiful. Moreover anecdotal accounts of runners experiencing the ‘superman feeling’ on the start line following an effective taper abound.

In a meta analysis of tapering by the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 182 tapering studies were considered and 27 were found robust enough (of high enough rigour) for inclusion in the review.

The analysis looked at the impact of the decrease in training intensity, volume, and frequency, as well as the pattern of the taper and its duration on athletic performance.

From the 27 studies, the meta analysis found the best strategy to optimize performance is a tapering intervention of two weeks, where the training volume is exponentially decreased by 41-60% without any modification of training intensity.

However, for ultra runs, many like to start their taper four weeks out from the race given the heavy loads (long durations) accumulated during the peak training period.

If you choose to go with a four week taper, one strategy is to follow this protocol:

  • 4 weeks left: Reduce 15% of total km running of previous week
  • 3 weeks left: Reduce a further 10%
  • 2 weeks left: Reduce a further 10%
  • 1 week left:  Reduce a further 10%

Keep some of your intensity and speed work in these runs to keep sharp for race day – you do not want to lose your racing edge.

Supporting exercises

For people who have certain weak muscle groups after each exercise session, you need to prioritize the following accompanying exercises. Here are some suggestions:

Calves: Jumping Rope + Standing Calf Raise

Quads : Leg Extension + Leg Press + Front Squat

Hamstrings: Leg Curl + Stiff Leg Deadlift

Glute: Glute Bridge + Sumo Deadlift + Hip Abduction + Walking Lunge

Trapezius: Face Pull (Good exercise supporting runners who wear their backpack when running)

Triceps: Triceps Extension + Chair Dips + Bar Dips


Participate in the Marathon Trail Performance Advisory Workshop organised by Elite Fitness on January 16, 2019 at Elite Fitness Pham Ngoc Thach to prepare best for VTM 2019

About Elite Fitness:

Founded in 2010, Elite Fitness – an international standard fitness chain led by BIM Group – has opened 15 clubs in Vietnam. Its mission is to provide expert-led heath and fitness services for the community.