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The finish line of the Rock N Roll with hundreds of people crossing at once

Tips on Tapering for a Marathon or Half Marathon

By Carlee McDot, 04/06/17, 11:00PM EDT


How to fill your time while winding down for the big day.

Whether you’re planning to use a Rock ‘n’ Roll race as a PR attempt, a training run, a chance to tackle a new distance or a means to party your way through a travel destination, you might be able to relate to something the majority of us are going through: TAPER TIME! According to Runner’s World, the definition of tapering is as follows:

taper definition

During a taper, you will have more time on your hands since you will be running less. It helps to have ideas of what you can do to fill your time. Here are my suggestions (in no particular order) of things to do while tapering for one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll races.

Stalking the Weather

Stressing about the weather does very little (seeing as Mother Nature is a beast that has very little regard for anyone else). Still, I make sure to do my fair share of weather watching so I know how to plan for the race. Do I need to bring extra hydration? Should I pack a rain jacket or duct tape to help “weatherproof” my shoes?


Updating Music Playlists

As you can expect, the bands and DJs are aplenty on a Rock ‘n’ Roll course. Just in case you desire some specific tunes, make sure your running playlists are locked and loaded! Some of you may want to rock the same tunes as you used during training — that way, when you hear those familiar songs, your body “knows” what to do. Others may want to update your playlist to include a few extra motivational songs and anthem cries. Either way, make sure to have your jams ready.

iphone and earbuds

Foam Rolling and Stretching

I do my darnedest to foam roll and stretch every evening — although there are some nights where I am just too tired and decide crawling into bed sounds much better. But when it comes to the week before a race, you better believe that I am setting aside a chunk of time to roll it out. Whether it be your IT band, your quads, your calves or your feet, DO IT!

Foam Rollers

Reviewing the Course

Studying the course can have HUGE advantages, such as knowing where to expect hills and where to be on the lookout for aid stations. Although I am one who tends to forget to do much reviewing of the course map or elevation charts, I know how beneficial they can be. Learn from my dumb mistakes and do your homework. One can never be too prepared!

Google maps of San Diego half marathon
Distance graph


No matter the weather, it is always important to hydrate prior to a race. Starting a race dehydrated might be just as bad or worse than starting a race without being adequately trained for it. And hydrating shouldn’t start the morning or even day before — make sure you give your body the nutrition and hydration it needs leading up to toeing the starting line! Although you could definitely “hydrate” with Michelob Ultra, I’d suggest saving that for your post-race beer and hydrating with some “purple” Gatorade. Wait, am I the only one who describes flavors by their color?

Grape G2 Gatorade

Charging Electronics

Who wants to show up on race morning with their gadgets and gizmos dead? Uh, NO ONE! While you have some free time during your tapering, make sure to grab the rel="noopener noreferrer" power cords and give your electronics (and spare external batteries) some extra juice. If you are traveling to the race, make sure the chargers find their way into your bags.

Charging phone and apple watch

Deciding on Your Race Outfit

Sometimes, deciding on my race day outfit is one of the hardest parts of preparing for a race — OK, the mileage is definitely the hardest part, but picking my outfit may come in a close second. Now that you’ve versed yourself in what the weather will be like on race morning, get your gear ready. I love laying out all my gear and taking a #FlatRunner photo of it. Not only does it help your friends know what to look for when they are spectating, but it also helps you make sure you don’t forget any last-minute essentials.

Runner laying down posing as running

Maxing and Relaxing

You put in the work. Now take a couple deep breaths, trust your training and RELAX! Whether that means reading one of your favorite running (or non-running) books, soaking in an Epsom salt bath to relax your muscles, vegging out on the couch to your favorite reality TV show or napping with your favorite four-legged friend, make sure to take time for YOU! You earned it after all those early mornings, hard workouts and long runs! Your body is physically prepared. Now make sure you show up rested and mentally prepared to ROCK your race!

The relaxation station - instagram story

Is there anything else you make sure to do while tapering?

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