The fall marathon season is pretty much over at this point, and many marathoners are starting to think about getting back into their regular training schedule. How do you do it? The answer is a reverse taper. Just as you tapered your mileage for a few weeks preceding the marathon, you will do the same thing as you ease back into your training schedule.
Reverse tapering is crucial to preventing injury when coming back from a marathon. Your body has just completing a very grueling physical challenge, and it needs time to recover! I’m going to put a disclaimer here–everyone is different, so listen to your body as you get back into running. Some runners bounce back faster than others. If your body is telling you to slow down and rest more, listen to it! 😉
The general idea is to use the same formula that you used to taper before the marathon, but do it backwards. After three to four weeks (however long your taper was), you would ideally be back at a normal training volume. You can find some sample reverse taper plans for the half marathon and marathon HERE. Make sure you take good care of your overall health when reverse tapering, just like you did while tapering. Take naps if needed, rest, get a massage, make sure you are sleeping well, etc. If you follow these general rules, you body should start feeling back to normal in a few weeks. Just don’t forget to go down the stairs backwards! 😉