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!
- 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