A Taper Is Hard

I've decided that I just don't enjoy the majority of the taper. You would think that with a significant reduction in training, more sleep and more recreation it would be awesome. Following the heavy training load where I probably headed into the territory of overreaching I really needed this recovery period. The first three days of reduced training I had so much energy. I felt like one of those super balls bouncing off walls and ceilings.

Then my body finally realised another long and hard session wasn't going to be imposed on it. It could finally recover from all the abuse. It took advantage of this and went full bore into repair mode. It is obvious that you can't fully recover and go hard at the same time. Everything slows down. Heart rate decreases, core temperature drops slightly, the need for sleep increases by 1-2 hours each night and above all energy levels plummet.

This is what makes the taper very difficult. It has you feeling as though you have lost all your fitness. At times walking up the front steps can feel like hard work. The hard part is having faith in the process. Having faith that the energy levels return for race day and that not only hasn't any fitness been lost, but there is an actual increase in performance ability.

A final test of fitness begs to done during the taper. The mind puts out so many excuses as to why I need one last hard ride or run. Yesterday I came close to giving in to this urge. Sitting on the bike I realised that while the session was feeling extremely easy, I was actually working at a very high rate. Way too high to continue. So I called it a day with only 1 hour (instead of 3) covered. Too hard a session will signal to the body that the recovery thing is over. This can lead to an early peak, no peak or a reduction in the peak.

So I have given myself other things to do. Catch up with friends. Put together the race kit. Clean the bike and then clean it again. Play guitar. Almost anything to distract me from that pseudo-need-to-train.


  1. I'm wondering about the IM taper ... is it similar to tapering for a running event? For example, reduced distances of sessions, but more race-paced or higher intensity - or is it just lots of easy sessions and 'resting up' (or something else)?


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