As I get Balance Multipsport started I am also going into my last race of the season; the Pumpkinman Half Iron. Balance Multisport athlete Mark Dugas is also racing the Pumpkinman and this will be his first half iron!
I know Mark has been working hard, 70.3 miles is not a distance to be taken lightly! But now, only 4 days out from the race it's Taper Time.
What is a taper?
According to triathlon legend Joe Friel a taper, when done right "peaks all of the abilities, boosts confidence, and allows for psychological rest as well"*. Simply put, a taper is when you reduce the volume and intensity of your training. This typically happens the week leading up to your most important race, your "A" race.
Tapers differ according to race distance and the amount of training you have accomplished, but some things are consistent across the board.
- Use your taper time to prepare your equipment for race day, make sure your bike is working well, smooth shifting, no wheel rubs and clean brakes - if there are any problems now is the time to deal to them.
- Reduce the time of your workouts but don't stop working out all together! Studies have shown that better performance is shown after a week of reduced activity than of total rest - plus you'll go nuts if you stop cold turkey! That being said, it is completely ok to take an extra day or two of rest.
- Insert some brief bursts of intensity, for example a 30 minute bike ride with 3 x 90 second pick ups at race pace. These little bursts will get your anaerobic system working and insure that you don't feel flat on race day.
Happy training (and even tapering!) and best of luck to Mark Dugas, i'll see you on course!
*The Triathlete's Training Bible" Joe friel, Velo Press 2004