TAPER YOUR TRAINING
coach, Rob Wakefield, explains how to get to the point in your training where you’re race-prepped, with a high level of fitness and a low level of fatigue
Tapering encourages useful physiological changes that can improve performance. Muscle glycogen levels increase so there’s more fuel to ride with, and tapering lets the body repair and heal, for increased strength and speed. In addition, a reduction in training volume can actually help to increase both aerobic metabolism and maximum oxygen consumption.
Taper Down Training
Your training load should be reduced 7-10 days ahead of an event, although there’ll be differences in this, based on your age, fitness and the type of ride. Your training frequency should be maintained, so if you train four days per week then keep doing that. However, the duration should be reduced by 50-60 per cent, so if you train 10 hours per week, reduce that to 4-5 hours.
Train Above Race Intensity
Train at, or a little higher than, race intensity. Your body adapts to a lower intensity very quickly and ‘detraining’can occur when tapering. For sportive riders, 2x10 minutes at or slightly above threshold is a good workout in the taper, as is 3x3 minutes at VO2 max. A very small dose of sprints on the day before your event will keep your muscles used to hard efforts.
Out Of The Saddle
“On training rides the weight of your equipment won’t dramatically affect your performance,” says Dani. “But for longer rides or sportives, try to condense the increased amount of kit you’ll need and split it between pockets and a bikemounted bag.” Pack or mount a patch kit, multi-tools, lights and extra fuelling. “Carry enough food and drink to get you round the course – don’t depend on feed stations.”