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The Ultimate Taper Episode with Author Alex Hutchinson

You’ve logged the miles and now it’s time to race. What is the single, most effective, and nearly universal strategy to ensure you get the best performance? Tapering! 

runner tapering

If you’ve followed a well-structured program leading up to a race, you’ve likely done a taper. But what is it, exactly? Alex Hutchinson puts it quite simply, tapering is:

A reduction in your normal training… Doing less to achieve more.

I’ve covered tapering strategies in the past, looking at:

I’ve seen tapers used in a variety of ways to reduce mileage, intensity, or frequency of workouts. I’ve also seen them misapplied to mean a decrease in food consumption or sleep.

Are there precise formulas to apply for when and how to reduce training? No. But are there some “best practices” we can use to structure or modify our planned taper? Yes!

Today we answer your questions about tapering with author and endurance expert, Alex Hutchinson.

Alex Hutchinson’s Wisdom on Tapering

Alex Hutchinson

Alex Hutchinson holds a PhD in Physics from Cambridge, a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia, and is a former national-class runner in Canada. He has written for Runner’s World, Outside Online, The Globe and Mail, Popular Mechanics, and many other major media.

I am a big fan of his fitness books as well. He wrote:

Alex and I have partnered together before to bring you expert advise. We also recorded a podcast episode on the limits of human endurance.

On today’s episode, I wanted to have an in-depth conversation about all things related to tapering.

I asked you, our Strength Running community on Instagram and Twitter, for questions that you may have. You guys rock, as always! Thanks for your thoughtful questions and helping to guide the conversation.

Our conversation with Alex addresses topics like:

  • How long should a taper be?
  • Should frequency of workouts decrease?
  • How to approach tapering for your strength training
  • Can you add other activities during your taper?
  • Why do some runners start to feel worst during a taper?
  • And many other related questions

As you’ll hear, there’s no perfect way to taper. We’ll share some guidelines, but runners are encouraged to rely on their own feedback.

    I hope this episode gives you valuable insights as your structure your own training.

    As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions ( or check out the periodized training plans provided within the members area.

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    Listen to the entire episode:

    Links & Resources from the Show:

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