With races beginning to return and many of our athletes getting ready to put their training to the test, this means only one thing... taper. Here coach Jon answers some of the questions we regularly receive from our clients regarding this subject.
What is a taper?
A taper is a planned progressive reduction in your training load in the build-up to your chosen race or event, allowing for peak performance.
How long should I taper for?
This really depends on the event distance and can be anything from 7 days to 28 days. A typical taper lasts 2 weeks.
What is the benefit of a taper?
A taper is integral to getting to the start line in top shape. It ensures you are able to race fresh and sharp. It creates a reduction in fatigue and allows you to race at your best.
Won’t I lose fitness through tapering?
If done correctly then no. Fitness cannot be built at this late stage but additional fatigue can. Fatigue will adversely affect your race performance whereas tapering will only aid it.
So does taper mean I take everything easy?
Again, no. Over the course of your taper you will reduce your training volume yet aim to keep the training frequency the same. Each session should include ‘activations’ and ‘efforts’ to keep your system firing and your body from beginning the shutdown process.
Is it normal to feel sluggish when tapering?
Yes, perfectly normal. There is no cause for alarm here. Feeling sluggish during taper is normal and actually a good sign. You have trained for months and your mind has pushed your body hard. Now you are easing off and not doing as much, your body finally has a chance to heal. Aches, pains, heavy legs are common and usually go in the last few days before a race.
Any other questions you may have about tapering please drop them in the comments below.