I’m not a coach or a trainer, just someone who enjoys training and racing and tries to educate myself in becoming a better rider and runner. One day shy of a week away from a pretty big mountain bike race, and a feeling of over training looming large over my head, I have been reading up on the taper.
To begin with, there should be 3 types of races on your schedule:
- A-Your very best, peak race, the one that you have been training for and want to place the best in.
- B-Eh, it’s important, but not the winning race.
- C-You really don’t care and just see this as a training opportunity.
(If you ever use Trainingpeaks.com, they have you choose these to build your race schedule around. Also, if you want an easy to use, inexpensive training program/coach, trainingpeaks.com is a great source.)
To me the race next week and perhaps the half marathon the week after are considered “A” races. The full marathon last May was an “A” race. I had spent 4 months training exclusively for that. I had no reason not to empty the tank at the end. Right now I am in peak performance shape. I have spent the last four months since that marathon training and staying in shape. I feel as if I am at my best.
An “A” race is really the only one that you should taper for. B and C races should just be built into your training schedule. This was interesting to me, because I thought that you had to taper for every race-regardless. Apparently it is not the case.
What does the taper look like?
Research shows that tapering can take shape in many different ways. To be honest, we can always choose the best for ourselves, but this is where having a coach may be nice.
1. Decide how long the taper is going to last. One week? Two week?
2. Then decide the outline of the taper-this is where it can get tricky. Options include:
- Same workout time less intensity
- Less workout time less intensity
- Less workout time more intensity-Multiple sources talked about this being the best option
3. Decide what the workouts will look like each day. With less workouts more intensity, you may do something everyday, but for less time than you normally would, but with a little more intensity. For instance, instead of running 6 miles, like I normally would I would cut it down to 3 with pickups every 2 minutes for 1 minute.
Tapering for an “A” race is difficult because this is your peak moment and quite honestly, I love working out right now and training! I may be overtraining, but I am definitely not feeling the mental burnout. Taking days off or lessening the time is incredible exercise in mental futility. But, someone once told me that the idea of a taper is that come race time you are like a tiger in the cage and once that door opens you are ready to rumble!
Actually, I have a confession. My legs were sore Wednesday from lifting on Tuesday. I planned to take it easy, but we took the dogs for a 1.5 hour hike. So, yesterday I wanted to mountain bike and wasn’t sure if I should. I read about tapering. I went mountain biking. My legs feel good and I’m taking today off.
And PS…Our team name for the race is “License to Spill.” You know, like The Beastie Boys “License to Ill”, but we are on mountain bikes. Let’s hope the taper works, our legs are strong, and neither one of spills.
Have you ever had a team name for a race? SO, hard to come up with. Especially with your significant other. Maybe if it were me and another girl.
Do you have a certain regime for tapering? Besides doing every other day workouts, I also pay attention to getting more sleep and eating healthy. I eat few carbs the week before, and then 2-3 days before eat more. I’ll post about this next week.