It would seem like most of Canada’s triathletes are gearing up for Ironman these days. With only 6 weeks of ‘good’ summer weather, the options for choosing a race weekend fall to a just select few.
A taper is supposed to be a 1-3 week decrease in training volume to allow the muscles to fully recover. During these weeks the goal is to catch-up on rest, ie. sleep more and relax. A typical taper week may look very similar to any other week except the total hours is less. Similarly, the amount of time spent doing high intensity sessions should decrease but not be dropped completely from the schedule.
Since so many athletes are now ‘enjoying’ their tapers, I thought I’d generate a list of ways for how to wreck all the hard work that went into training for the event (these are in no particular order):
- More time to rest from training means more time I can stay at the office
- I get to stay up later because I have more time to kill
- I feel great so I’m going to do a 100 mile charity ride the week before my event
- Even though I followed my coach’s plan and did everything he asked, I know my body better than he does and I’m going to do my own training plan until the event
- Taper means I get to eat more right?
- I’m not going to bother training until my event, I mean, tapering means rest doesn’t it?
- Intensity hurts my legs so I’ll just skip those and do all the easy sessions
- I know what will make me better, a new bike (enter shoes and wetsuit into this sentence)!
- With all this added time I should, enter one of these: look for a new house, do a renovation, find a new job, plan a trip to a foreign country
A well executed taper will have leave you feeling good, maybe even great, on race day. Don’t wreck the hard work that was put in on those cold, lonely, dreary months by doing something dumb. Take the time to reflect on your accomplishment leading up to this point and maybe even treat yourself to a massage (nothing too deep!).
Above all else, take care of yourself and don’t forget the most important part: to have fun! Because that’s why your doing this in the first place, right?