Gavin Burt is a registered osteopath, veteran long distance runner, and managing director of Backs and Beyond Ltd (www.backsandbeyond.co.uk) an osteopathic and sports injury clinic in Dartmouth Park in North London (61 Chetwynd Road, NW5 1BX).
Gavin has specialised in running and triathlon injuries for the last 18 years, and is a member of the Serpentine Running Club.
The 16 weeks of mind blowing, gut busting, road pounding training is almost at an end. You’ve gradually built up your mileage to an extent where what seemed in the beginning as a long run is now like a saunter to the shops and back; 10 miles is hardly worth getting out of bed for!
‘Give me the real mileage’ your body screams and then, as if taking a rattle from a baby, the mileage is wrenched from your hands the training schedule says ‘run less'. Much less.
Whether you like it or not, the taper is a necessary evil. Two or three weeks away from race day you are asked to halve your weekly mileage, and then the week before race day, halve it again. You need the rest, for your muscles to recover, for your glycogen fuel tank to fill to the brim, for your feet to be as light as a feather and as fast as a leopard on race day.
I always find the taper quite difficult, because i want to do more rather than less, but I know that it is best to follow the perceived wisdom - Keep Calm and Reduce The Mileage.
The following pages will tell you how you how to master the balanced taper, so click next page!