August 8, 2017 by

One of my athletes recently asked me how they should handle their taper period for their Ironman and was worried about doing some daft during this phase of their A race journey.

For those of you unfamiliar with the phase “tapering”, it essentially is process of lowering training volume, in the lead-up to an A race to allow the body recover and be race ready.

Typically, for an ironman race, a taper happens 2 weeks out and half ironman/olympic distance it may only be a week – the optimum taper will depend on the athlete.

So for athletes who have been training up to 12 – 14 hours in the lead up to an Ironman A race, for example – it can feel quite alien with lots of “free time” from normally rigorous training routines.

Thus to help others in this new space – I have put together some Dos and Don’ts


  • Rest up as much as possible – take the odd lie in where possible – all the heavy lifting is done we are just fine tuning the machine now
  • Stick to your plan – it has gotten you this far ! There should be still light training sessions = taper does not no training!
  • Be nice to your body – use the extra down time to stretch & foam roll more each night
    Get a sports massage 3 – 6 days out from the race
  • Get organised – make checklists, pack bags and get bike serviced 2 weeks out
  • Map out a race strategy with your coach or on your own and review it carefully so you are 100% prepared for race day – taper time = thinking time!

Do Not

  • Try out anything new – diets, kit, energy drinks – not the time! Stick with what you know
  • Overeat – remember your training load has reduced – so ease off on the portions
  • Try to squeeze in extra training sessions – you are not losing fitness – it the taper gremlins talking ….. STICK TO YOUR PLAN
  • Stress about the race – have faith in your training completed to date (look over training logs, distance covered, improvement in paces etc – all these things should reassure you)

Train hard, Train SMart folks

Coach Steve