PLAN TO PEAK
It’s not possible nor is it wise to peak and taper for multiple events in the year. Some races you will need to train through in order to maximize your chances of success at your key event. Identifying which race you plan to peak for reinforces the importance of goal setting and starting with the end in mind.
Tapers are not a one-size-fits-all approach and usually take some trial and error to really nail. Tapers often depend on the amount of heavier training load you have accumulated (either through volume, intensity or a combination of both) in the last year and, in particular, in the 10- to 16-week lead-in to your key event. The higher the training load often the longer the taper required. Likewise, the lighter the training load, the less time is required for tapering. Athletes who train in the eight to 15 hour per week range will likely not need more than about 10 to 14 days and the taper may not even need to be that aggressive. A small decrease in training volume should be enough to leave you feeling fresh and ready to go. Athletes who train in the 20 to 30 hour range may need to taper for longer – 14 to 21 days might be required to fully off load any deeper fatigue that you have accumulated. Tapering is not time off, nor is it neglecting specific workouts that are important for the race, but rather it is a decrease in training volume and an increase in time spent resting.
There is no magic bullet for success. Keep it simple and stick to some basic principles. Nailing it requires a consistent, on-target, progressive approach that starts with the end in mind.
Jasper Blake is a former Ironman Canada champion and the head coach of B78 Coaching.