Do you have a race or event coming up? Then you’ll need to know how to taper properly.
Tapering is the best way to make sure you’re 100% fresh for all your target races. It involves reducing your training load so you’re at peak fitness at the right time. Get it right, and you’ll increase your chances of having a great race.
There are lots of ways to taper, but research indicates that “lowering your training volumes by about 40-60% induces positive physiological, psychological and performance adaptions”.
The key to a good taper is getting the balance right. You don’t want to do too little, or too much. It all boils down to three things.
1. Duration (how long you taper for).
2. Volume (how much you do).
3. Intensity (how hard you work).
The duration of your taper depends on how important the race is to you. For a short granfondo, you could just take a day off before it. Whereas for a big eventi (upcoming Nove Colli, for example) might taper for two weeks. It’s important to decide which are your high and low priority races. Because if you do a two weeks taper for every single event, you might eventually lose fitness. Some events require shorter taper periods. Start by prioritising all your events into A, B and C categories, so you can taper accordingly.
Tapering For Your Target Event
Week 1 of Your Taper
Starting two weeks before race day, your training volume should be around two thirds of what you do normally. Train on all the same days as usual, but make the workouts shorter. For example, if you normally ride for an hour, do 40 minutes instead.
Your intensity should be the same as usual. For example, if you normally do intervals on a Tuesday, stick with this. Just do two thirds as many repetitions as usual.
Week 2 of Your Taper
In week two (race week), start by taking the Monday as a total rest. This helps you recover from the previous week, and ensures you start your final week feeling ok. Then train as normal between Tuesday and Friday – except that you do half of your normal duration. For example, your two hours easy ride becomes a 60 minute easy ride instead. And if you normally do interval training, do half as many repetitions as usual.
Then take the final Saturday as a total rest day, assuming your race is on a Sunday