The Perfect Taper
Tapering is an individual process but it should give the same result – deliver the athlete to the start line rested and ready to deliver their best. The general rule of thumb is to reduce intensity and volume but keep enough tension in the legs to fire on the day. Many athletes lack the courage it takes to cut back on their training, ‘I’ll lose fitness”, “just one more interval”. Remember, it’s stress, rest, adapt. I have put a few pointers below if you were racing on Sunday:
Swim; keep the frequency in the water on race week. If you normally swim 3 x per week keep to the same with the last intensity being at the start of the week. Swimming is typically the quickest to recover from and also the quickest to lose your feel of the water.
Bike; reduce volume on the bike with last efforts on the Monday / Tuesday (keep short and sharp). Ride on the Saturday or day before, this not only helps to ‘prime’ the legs but also to make sure your bike is in good working order pre-race!
Run; because of the load bearing nature of running, we can really cut the volume here yet leave a little intensity at the start of the week. If you normally run 3 days a week, cut to 2 with just a very short run 3 days out from the race.
Ultimately, listen to your body. If you need more rest – take it. You will not get fitter race week, just more fatigued!