Is tappering necessary?

To taper or not, that is the question.

The research is inconclusive.  There are many different methods of tapering and many more opinions.  In the end, it is a personal matter.  There are so many variables; your current level of fitness;  your compete level; the current state of your health; and, your objectives. I am preparing for the 2014 Pacific Populaire, an annual 100 km group ride, and because of unseasonal inclement weather, have not been able to get out on the road as much as I would have liked.  There is no better way to prepare than time in the saddle.  Instead, I have combined intense indoor spinning, time in the gym lifting and more relaxed outdoor rides when the weather permitted.

Am I adequately prepared?  I am not certain.  And, for that reason I question whether to taper.  Perhaps it makes more sense to continue training at the same intensity until the day of the ride.  This is not a race, at least for me.  My objectives are simple – complete the ride, enjoy the experience and, better last year’s time.  That’s the key.  I know I can complete the ride and enjoy the day.  But can I improve on last year’s performance?  That is what I have been working toward for 3 months.

With a week left to ride day, this is what I have decided.  For the next 5 days, I am going to continue training at the same frequency and intensity as usual.  That means a mixture of indoor spinning and a couple of road rides.  It looks like it will be warmer and sunny at the beginning of the week so I can get on the road.  Thursday evening I will do the spinning class I enjoy.  It is intense but only an hour long.  And then, Friday and Saturday I will rest – stretch, tune the bike and prepare my clothing for the ride on Sunday.

Is that a taper?  I am not sure.  Is a 2 day rest sufficient?  I am about to find out.

What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Is tappering necessary?

  1. For me, taking more than a day off means getting my legs back and that takes a day. The only tapering I do is to cut the intensity a little bit a few days before. That keeps my legs spun up and gets me a bit of a rest. Looking forward to reading about how it goes. Good luck.

  2. Having read your Blog post, in my professional opinion, I would suggest, active rest not total rest. Total rest has its place especially if you are training with regular high intensity. But with your ride being 4 days away (If I have understood your post right) I would consider doing the same thing as normal just knocking back the duration not the intensity. When I raced, my coach would always get me to do one hill effort of 40sec and two full on sprints within an hour’s ride at recovery pace instead of my normal harder sessions.

    So much of coaching is done on feel and on experience, and more importantly rider preference. You know how you react to your training, do you feel tired or fatigued a couple of days after a hard training session? Or do you feel really fresh even the day after? These are the sort of questions a coach would ask to plan your taper. If this is the first time you have tried to taper for an event then I would just do as you do normally just not quite the same intensity/ duration. If you ride 3 or 4 hour rides after your spinning session on Thursday, try and limit yourself to 1.5 – 2 hour rides. This will leave you feeling fresh and ready for Saturday. If it doesn’t work out for you then try something different next time.

    On a personal level GOOD LUCK and I’ll check your blog again to see how you did. Hope you beat your personal best for the event. Fingers crossed for the weather.

    Alex Wise

    • Thanks Alex. This is helpful.

      I have never been one to taper. Never really understood how to do it. And, never felt it was necessary, at least for what I do.

      On Monday I did a 110-115 km moderate ride. The longest of the season so far. Tuesday I felt tired but cycled another 25 km. Today, I felt fine and did another 50 km moderate ride. You are right, it is an individual thing. I will do as you suggest – do what I would normally do but cut back on the intensity and duration following tomorrows spinning class.

      Thanks again!

  3. Pingback: Tapering … 🤔 | PedalWORKS

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