Tapering strategies

  1. Don’t over-think it, you’re just doing less exercise to allow your body to recover
  2. Keep the same routine but just do less, for example, if you always swim on Thursday morning and ride Thursday evening, then continue to do so, just do less.
  3. For B/C events, you probably only need to taper for 3 days and you’ll recover quite significantly. Reduce your volume and intensity on Thursday, Friday & Saturday if the event is Sunday.
  4. For A races, then 10 days out is more suitable, don’t do any big workouts on the weekend prior, such as 3 hours runs or 6 hours bikes! You should then stick to your normal routine for the week and just reduce the volume and intensity.
  5. Having too many rest days can leave you feeling very lethargic and heavy, this is why doing something (a 15 minute jog or 30 minute bike) is often better than complete rest. This tends to vary per person and is influenced by how much you generally do in a week. If you train a lot, then rest days will be more likely to lead to lethargy. If you don’t train much at all, it probably won’t affect you.
  6. For the reason above, rest days are better taken earlier in the taper. For example, take the previous weekend off completely and then start your taper on Monday, doing reduced sessions through to race day. This is likely to have a better response than taking full rest days on the 2 days prior to your race.
  7. There is no perfect taper, it’s very individual. It’s also not just a physiological process, you have to take psychology into account. It you feel that you really NEED rest days, then take them. Physically, you may not need them, but if it settles your mind, then do it and it’s not really going to alter the outcome a great deal. It’s as much about getting your mind in the right place as it is about physical prep, so do what makes you happy.
  8. So long as you allow your body top freshen up over 7-10 days, your physical performance won’t be limited, so don’t get too overly focused on it or worry too much about it. There is no perfect race taper which gives you 20% gains. You could do 5 different types of taper and so long as your body was given the time to recover, the outcome would be the same.
  9. The thing which could influence your race performance by more than 20% is your race strategy. People stress about their taper and whether they should ride 20 or 30 minutes on Friday and whether it should or shouldn’t include a few short intervals…. Despite the fact that they have no real race plan, haven’t thought through their nutrition plan and haven’t serviced or checked their bike. Switch your focus in the final 10 days to race planning, pacing, nutrition and reading all the info.
  10. Relax and don’t over-eat. Carbohydrate loading isn’t a thing, so be careful how much fuel your take on board, don’t turn up on race day bloated. Do the simple things which will help such as stretching, relaxing and getting extra sleep.

For an ‘A’ race, keep it simple….

Weekend prior, cut back by 50% and go easy, don’t race your mates or smash the hills…

Monday – Easy swim 50-60% of normal session, with some short intervals, get out feeling fresh

Tuesday – Ride 60 minutes very easy, jog 20 minutes to follow with a few gentle accelerations

Wednesday – Easy swim 50-60% of normal session, with some short intervals, get out feeling fresh

Thursday – Ride 60 minutes very easy, jog 15 minutes to follow with a few gentle accelerations

Friday – Easy swim 50-60% of normally session, with some short intervals, get out feeling fresh

Saturday – Spin 30 minutes on bike

Sunday – Race

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