Peaking for Race Day

Top Tips from Ben Parkes

Last week as part of our Road to LDN event series in partnership with Mile 27, athlete and coach Ben Parkes joined us to talk all things tapering. The talk - along with all other events in the series - was live streamed on our Instagram and covered everything from how to reduce your mileage, to carb loading and ensuring there are no surprises on race day. Fortunately, for those who missed it, Ben has taken the time to note down some of his top tips for tapering.'s a word I'm sure most people have heard of, but what does it actually mean in practice? Given the time of year, I'm getting a lot of questions about the process, so here's my take on it and how to go about maximising your PB chances on race day.

Why Taper?

Quite simply, the aim of the taper is to reduce the accumulated fatigue in your body, while maintaining the fitness you've built up over your training cycle. It allows you to arrive on the start line with fresh legs, feeling strong and ready to perform. 

2 Weeks To Go

  • Reduce your mileage by 25 - 30% from your peak week. So again if you were doing 50 miles, then this week should be around 37 miles. 
  • Very good idea to add strides at the end of your easy runs.
  • Include 1 interval session, here are some examples of what you can do;
    • 3x (3k at threshold (Z4) with 2 minutes rest) 
    • 6x (3 minutes at threshold with 90 seconds rest) 
  • Run on the same days as you'd normally run, your body likes routine. Just less distance/intensity. 
  • Last long run, keep it to 90-120 minutes.

Race Week 

  • Reduce your mileage by 50-60% from your peak week. So 20-25 miles using our example. This is for the 6 days up to race day.
  • Try not to listen to all the gremlins saying you haven't done enough, resist the urge to run more than you should. 
  • Keep the frequency up, just reduce the distance/intensity.
  • Easy runs will promote recovery, as the blood will be flowing helping to flush out your system. 
  • Practice a few miles miles at goal pace if you're feeling confident. 6 x 3 minutes at Marathon goal pace on Tuesday is something I always do. 
  • If you want to run the day before, then keep it short. 1-3 miles, very relaxed.

Keep up to date with Ben's journey via his website and Instagram