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The Final Stretch of Marathon Training: How to Optimize Your Peak and Taper

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Congratulations! You’ve almost made it to peak week, and we’ve got taper on the horizon! With that, I’m sure you’re wondering how your strength training fits into the remainder of your training plan. Let’s take a look at how the progression works from here to ensure you hit that finish line hard!

As the end of your marathon training journey nears, it's time to dig into the

crucial phase of peak week and taper. In this installment of our series on the

benefits of strength training for runners, we're honing in on how strategic strength training can be your secret weapon as you prepare to conquer the marathon course. The finish line is in sight, and we want to ensure you go into race day strong.

Enhance Running Economy:

Peak week and taper are when you refine your running mechanics and fine-tune your form. Incorporating targeted strength training exercises that mirror running movements can help reinforce proper mechanics, ensuring optimal running economy. By strengthening the muscles that propel you forward, you'll run more efficiently, conserving energy for those final miles.

Maintain Muscle Activation:

As mileage decreases during the taper phase, it's essential to maintain muscle activation without overloading your body. Implement strength training routines that focus on lower weights and higher repetitions. This approach keeps your muscles engaged and your neuromuscular connections sharp, preparing you for peak performance on race day.

Prevent Mental Fatigue:

The final weeks leading up to the marathon can be mentally taxing. Light strength training sessions offer a welcome diversion from the monotony of long runs. Engaging in focused, controlled exercises boosts your mood, keeps your mind sharp, and prevents the mental fatigue that can come with tapering.

Build Resilience:

Strength training isn't just about physical gains; it's about mental strength too. Tackling challenging strength workouts during peak week can cultivate mental resilience that translates to the marathon. As you power through those final miles, you'll draw on the mental fortitude honed during strength sessions.

Injury Prevention and Recovery:

While maintaining cardiovascular fitness is essential during the taper, prioritizing injury prevention is equally crucial. Incorporating low-impact strength exercises that target stabilizing muscles can help prevent last-minute injuries and ensure you reach the starting line in optimal condition.

The Recommended Taper Schedule:

3 Weeks Out: Start to lighten the weight

2 Weeks Out: Start to reduce your sets/reps and eliminate a session

Race Week: Bodyweight and band only

Final Thoughts:

Peak week and taper are transformative phases in your marathon journey. As you gradually reduce mileage and transition into race mode, harnessing the power of strategic strength training can be your secret to a peak performance that surpasses your expectations. Your hard work, dedication, and the integration of running with strategic strength training will come together on race day, propelling you toward that finish line strong. Stay tuned for more insights on unlocking your true running potential through the balance of strength and endurance!

Stay healthy,


Founder | Kim Miller Fitness

**The content in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The author and publisher of this blog post are not liable for any errors or omissions in the content, nor for any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use. Reliance on any information provided by this blog post is solely at your own risk.**

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