Tapering for your race

Scaling back your training during the final stages is crucial for optimal performance on event day.

"The main focus of tapering isn’t to make you faster or stronger, it’s to better prepare you for the exertion of the event," says endurance coach Steve Whittle . "Training hard over an extended period of time puts a big strain on your central nervous system, and if you do this for too long, you’ll begin to burn out and lose all your hard-earned gains before you’ve even reached the starting line.

"Tapering is about managing this – if you start easing off too soon, you risk losing the peak fitness levels you’ve worked so hard to achieve, but if you start too late, you won’t be fresh enough to perform at your best during the event.

"As a general rule, I recommend starting to taper a week prior to race day, scaling back the intensity during the week, doing nothing at all on the penultimate day before the event and then doing an extremely short, light session the day before just to remind your body of what you’ll be putting it through the next day."

Follow Steve's plan by doing the following in the run up to your event:

Monday – Ride at 80% of previous intensity and duration
Tuesday – Ride at 80% intensity and duration
Wednesday – Ride at 50% intensity and duration
Thursday – REST
Friday – Ride at 10% intensity and duration
Saturday – RACE DAY
Sunday – REST

Steve Whittle   is an endurance and nutrition coach with over a decade’s experience. For more information, contact him via Twitter @coach_whittle  

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