What's a triathlon taper?
Well, in simple terms it is when you allow the body to adapt and absorb all the training you have done to allow you to have the best race of your life!
And oh... my... god... how many times have I watched athletes simply screw this up.
So for a big Triathlon event you put everything else on hold for however long you have trained for. In some cases its years, in others its six months, but for everyone its something. You have made the commitment to do this... you have forced yourself out of bed to all those early morning training sessions. You have done those important rides... you know, the ones where you get home and your wife says, "Where the hell have you been?"
You have done all that... only to f*&^ it up in the last two weeks.
Ok, to be clear here I am talking your A race. The one that matters... not the others... many of those are training races and are a completely different kettle of swim, bike and run.
I have seen so many people at races smashing out intervals during the week before the big one.
So what should you do?
Well, first up everyone is different and you need to practice your own routine. However, what is also the case is that there are some fundamental rules to your taper.
First - DO NOT STOP.
Continue to train on days when you would normally train. Get up as normal. Go to sessions as normal. If your body thinks its the end of the season it will start to slow down, crave junk food, sleep more than it should etc
Second - Its a taper...
not a cramming session. Its not like your maths exam where some last minute revision might help... its about keeping the body moving and allowing that adaptation and race preparation to take place.
Third - LISTEN TO YOUR COACH
If you have something specific to do as part of your training then do it. Remember it is your plan. It is your race.
Fourth - If any of my athletes have a problem, then they come and talk to me about it.
Not their friend who is also doing the race. Not their colleague at their club. We have got here together. We have built this training into a peak together... we are not done yet... race day is coming...
Fifth - IGNORE EVERYONE ELSE
What I mean here is ignore all those athletes you see pounding the streets outside. There is a chuffin' good chance they are not even doing the race! Ignore what your mate is doing. Just because they think it is a good idea to ride the IRONMAN bike course in the week before the race... doesn't mean it is a good idea.
Finally, remember why you are doing this.
You have less than two weeks to go before your race. Focus on what is motivating you. What are your reasons to race? Focus on those. Start thinking about your race day plan... (maybe that's next week's article)
Training for Triathlon?
Paul is an IRONMAN Certified Coach based in Western Australia. Paul is also a British Triathlon Federation Level 3 Coach and a Triathlon Australia Development Coach.
F4L Triathlon Coaching offers triathletes a full coaching and training service that caters to all levels of athletes.
F4L Triathlon Coaches are flexible and approachable. In addition to our training groups, F4L offers online professional triathlon training support and the reliability triathletes require. Each athlete is an individual, every athlete has different needs. We provide you with experience and professional coaching.
Our Triathlon Coaching packages are designed for those athletes who want individual coaching, targeted at their races. Designed to reach your potential, offer a higher level of detail for your racing preparation.