Nutrition Tips During the Taper

During a taper before your race, some training plans taper dramatically, and some don’t. Nutrition needs vary based on your relative change in mileage & intensity. Many runners will have increased hunger during this time – it’s important to remember that recovery takes energy too.  Even though your mileage has decreased, remember that you have been working hard and the goal of taper is to fully recovery from this hard work by race day. It’s not uncommon for our appetite to increase as we roll into the taper. As our body rests, our true appetite signals can shine bright – and this is often when runners feel hunger the most. Also remember, you are still putting in miles during a taper. And, you are close to asking your body to run a big race and do the dang thang! Let’s make sure we aren’t under fueling during this time. We’ve put in the physical work. Don’t let misconceptions on nutrition during the taper derail this hard work come race day.

Balance your meals

During the taper, it’s important to give your body solid nutrition. Do not eliminate or restrict any foods right now. Keep your meals balanced and include carbohydrates, protein, healthy fat & color at each of your three meals per day. Aim for 20-40 grams protein, 50+ grams of carbohydrate & 1-2 servings of healthy fat per meal. Protein needs remain the same through the taper, carbohydrate needs may decrease slightly – or they may not, and you may find more fruits and vegetables feels great during the taper.

If you are hungry, eat.

While in Taper Town, runners may experience increased or decreased appetite. If you feel hungry (or very hungry!), honor your appetite and eat. Remember that we are recovering after peak week(s) and gearing up for a race. Ignoring hunger or intentionally restricting nutrition at this time will impair recovery for race day. Adjust snacks throughout the day to meet any changes in appetite. Hungry? Add a snack. Feeling less hungry? Keep meals steady but adjust snacks as needed.

Stick with solid meals but adjust snacks as needed

If you find that your appetite has decreased with your decrease in mileage, you can adjust your daily nutrition while still giving your body what it needs.  Focus on eating three solid meals per day and adjust your snacks or cut out snacks if needed. This may look like: eliminating your morning and/or afternoon snack, eliminating a bedtime snack or adjusting the size of your snacks.

Takeaway

Adequate nutrition during the taper is imperative for full recovery by race day. Nutrition also prepares us for the work to come, aka the race that you have been training so hard for. Give your body the solid nutrition it needs and do not intentionally restrict nutrition during this time.


Disclaimer: The content in our blog articles provides generalized nutrition guidance. The information above may not apply to everyone. For personalized recommendations, please reach out to your sports dietitian. Individuals who may chose to implement nutrition changes agree that Featherstone Nutrition is not responsible for any injury, damage or loss related to those changes or participation.