Tapering its a complex animal that many triathletes get confused on. Here is my triathlon coaching advice to you on tapering.
What is tapering? Most people look at Tapering as when one cuts back on there training leading up to a big race that they are trying to peak for. There are allot of different approaches to tapering. The techniques and theories discussed in this article are all from the most recent scientific studies out.
In general an athlete wants to gradually back off the overall volume in training 40 to 60 percent. For example, if the athlete trains 14 hours a week cut the volume down to around 7 hours a week.
Increasing intensity has been shown to work well in the taper phase. By increasing the intensity of the work outs the athletes top end speed develops. High intensity sessions means doing high end threshold and Vo2 Max training in swimming biking and running. These work outs will take allot out of the athlete so it is important to keep the over all volume, as stated before, low. This will allow for more recovery time. Work outs like this will help you gain top end fitness through neuro muscular and biological gains. This top end fitness also generally comes around faster than endurance base fitness.
This type of top end fitness usually serves athletes well in gaining a bit of extra top end speed in races. It also gives the athlete a mental confidence and swagger going into the race which is very important.
In the taper it is also important to keep the frequency of work outs the same. If an athlete is accustomed to doing 5 runs a week then it is key to keep doing 5 runs a week. This will help to keep the athlete feeling sharp as they maintain there neuro muscular memory.
Lastly the taper should be 2-4 weeks out from a big race. In the lead up to the taper an over load in training has been shown to work well. An overload is when the training volume is at a high point for the athlete. Thus the last long rides and runs should be done 2-4 weeks before a big race.
What works best for an athlete is ware the art of triathlon coaching comes in. Different athletes will recover differently form given volumes, intensities and frequencies. As a result the triathlon coach and athlete need to work closely with one another to learn what works well in tapering.
Kerry Sullivan is a certified USAT, USACII, CSCS, NLP PractitionerHe coaches triathletes and races competitively. He is in the process of becoming a pro triathlete Kerry has a blog and is often sought out for optimization in triathlon on both physical and mental aspects.For more info from the best triahtlon coaches in the world http://www.triathlonsummit.com