Ok. I get it.
Tapering means “to reduce gradually”. I looked it up.
You see, this is not what I have been doing. A week before an event, I would stop training, rest, and eat more carbs. That’s what a taper meant to me.
Where in the world did I get this understanding 🤔
I have the Pacific Populaire, the first local century ride of the season, fast approaching in 3 weeks. I want, no need, to taper. I have been training hard for 4 months, and actually feel I have over trained. I have all of the classic symptoms. Sore muscles. Tiredness. And, lack lustre motivation.
I need to taper.
So, for the past week, I have researched on-line resources to determine how, and when to taper. And, we all know how dependable on-line resources are, don’t we Donald. Here are several of the key things I learned that make sense, at least to me.
- There is no one way to taper. If fact, tapering is part science, and equal part art. You see, every circumstance, and every individual is different. You need to experiment to see what works best for you.
- The longer you have been training, the longer the taper needs to be. And, the older you are, the longer the taper needs to be. That’s me. I’m old, and I have been training hard for over 4 months.
- Some pundits advise tapering 1 week for every hour the event will take to complete. I have a 3-4 hour event coming up but 4 weeks seems excessive.
- During a taper, reduce the volume, not the intensity, of your workouts. Continue high-intensity workouts, even the week before the event
- Gradually reduce the volume of your workouts throughout the taper. The purpose for this is to maintain your current fitness level, and at the same time, rest more. Begin with a 25-30% reduction and gradually increase this to 40-50% the week immediately before the event.
- Continue to eat a well balanced, natural diet. There is no need to “carbo load” if you are accustomed to high-intensity training on a clean diet.
- Hydrate well several days prior to the event, particularly if the weather is hot and humid.
I got it. I have been doing this all wrong. My tapers, if they existed at all, have been too short, and not gradual. No gradual 😂
I have 3 weeks until the Pacific Populaire. So, my taper starts now.
“How will I know this method is more or less effective than what I have done in the past?”, you ask.
Well, I am going to keep a detailed tapering journal to review, reflect, and re-assess following the event.
That sounds like fun, eh.