Tapering? Heard of it...but why is it important. Below are a few tips to help you understand why tapering is as important as the high intensity training.
What is Tapering
The term tapering is the gradual reduction of training intensity and duration as you get closer to your race day.
It is a necessary aspect of endurance training and should start 1 - 2 weeks before your big day.
Why should I taper my training?
For the last few weeks you have been training hard, putting a lot of pressure on your body.
Tapering allows your muscles to repair – meaning on race day you will be running with fresher legs
During intense training your body uses glycogen inside your muscles and this glycogen becomes depleted. Tapering allows storage of glycogen to replenish
Tapering your training also allows your body to rehydrate effectively
Small twinges get a chance to repair
Tapering also allows us to prepare mentally for our race
Will I lose fitness?
If you have been training and fueling your body well and sticking to your training plans you will be in great shape for a race – yes you may lose a small level of fitness but the offset is a well-rested body, repaired muscles, increased glycogen and this can result in faster race times and better performance overall.
How do I taper my training?
It is key to stick to a plan – do not stop training altogether.
A general rule of thumb would be to reduce your training by about 25% - so if you are doing a 60-minute run/cycle during the week days reduce this to 45 minutes. On the weekends when you are doing your long training – cut this down also and go at a more moderate pace.
Have a look at our 16 Week Adventure Race Training Plan here – this has a tapering plan scheduled in week 15 & 16 of the plan.
A funny side effect of tapering – you have been training like mad for the past few weeks and months and now you feel like you are not doing enough, you are like a caged animal.
Don’t be tempted to ignore your plan and do more – believe me your legs with thank you on race day for the well-deserved rest.