Dealing With Taper Pains

Race day is quickly approaching.  All the long runs are done and now comes the most challenging part of training…the taper.  Reduced mileage and decreased intensity can cause a sense of anxiousness and worry that fitness is being lost.  Every small ache and pain can seem to be a major obstacle to achieving your race day goal. The key to solving the tapering blues is to relax, enjoy the extra energy you’ve found and ignore the small aches that pop up with rest.

Now is a great time to focus on stretching and reduce the strengthening part of your training program.  Below are a couple of stretches that can help improve mobility and safely expend the nervous energy that comes with less running.

Hamstring Stretch – While lying on your back, bend your knee and grab behind your thigh with both hands.  Tuck your knee in towards your chest. Straighten your knee up towards the ceiling; you should feel a stretch behind your thigh.  Hold for 10 seconds, then relax and let your knee bend. Keep your hands behind your thigh and repeat. Perform 10 times.


Piriformis Stretch – While lying on your back, grab your knee with the hand on the same side, and grab your shin with your other hand.  Pull your knee diagonally towards the opposite shoulder. When you feel a stretch in the hip, gently pull the shin to “twist” the hip until you feel a deeper stretch.  Hold for 10 seconds and release. Keep your hands in the same position and repeat. Perform 10 times.


Maintaining flexibility in your hips allows you to run more efficiently, improves your cadence, and often reduces the frequency of overuse injuries.  These stretching recommendations reflect some of the basics about avoiding taper pains.

Enjoy the taper!  

  1. Set your plan for nothing new on race day!  Plan to wear the clothes you picked out for race day and have trained in already.  Plan to eat what you’ve been eating the night before and morning of our long training runs and walks.  Get the rest you’ve been getting on Friday nights but remember that the days leading up to that pre-race night will be super important for extra rest also.

  2. Enough about the weather.  Even though you need to be aware of and prepare for the race day weather forecast, there is nothing you can do to change the weather.  No need to check the weather app every hour. No need to get frantic. Just get to the starting line with your goals in mind…the weather will be whatever the weather is going to be.

  3. Trust your training.  The Marathoner in Training program is tailored to get you ready for race day.  Together we have worked for 20 weeks to get you to the starting line. You are ready!  Set your race-day goals (such as one that is an audacious target in the best case scenario, one that you’ll be proud of and still wear your race shirt to work on Monday, and one that “you’ll take” and still be able to sleep at night).  Now go, run, and trust your training.  

As always, seek medical advice should you be experiencing more painful symptoms.  Feel free to call (614-981-1979) or email ( us with questions or comments.  Fit For Life Physical Therapy is proud to be Fleet Feet + FrontRunner’s physical therapy partner.  We will keep you moving – no matter what you do.

Joe Simko, PT |

Dana Brown, PTA |

Fit For Life Physical Therapy