Taper week got started a little bit early as I got sick for the first time in over 4 years. You read that correct. I have not been sick since I met Karen which she reminded me of when I went to the Doctor’s office on Saturday. The stress in the house has been building up as I noted in my post regarding stress and cortisol levels from last week.
Being sick gave me some time to think about how I would survive taper week. Typically, taper week drives people mad because they are no longer working out for hours on end and instead having to sit by as the world passes by or it would seem. As I was laying in my bed I started thinking about how I was going to survive this taper week since it was now going to be longer than one week.
3 Tips For Surviving Taper Week:
Tip #1: Meal Plan For The Week
This may not be something that you do on a consistent basis but during taper week I think it is imperative. Since we, athletes, are so keen on checking off boxes making a meal plan for the week and then sticking to it allows us to continue our Type A personalities. Also, by making a meal plan we can control our caloric intake since our training volume will be drastically reduced and what do people do when they are bored? They eat. If you have a meal plan then you can avoid that boredom eating that seems to take over.
I meal plan every Sunday evening for the upcoming week based on the volume of training I’ll be doing and extending this into taper week is not a big deal. If you don’t do this it may take some time to get used to but in the long run it will pay off. I use My Fitness Pal as I think it is the most comprehensive database along with being able to track macro and micro nutrients.
Tip #2: Understand That Your Workouts Still Have Purpose
I have heard and seen athletes dawdle their way through the taper week workouts and it amazes me. If you are going into the workout with such a lazy attitude you may as well skip the workout because being lazy while working out could result in injury and that would be worse than not working out at all.
The workouts that are scheduled during taper week still have meaning as they are keeping your muscles warm. It is also during taper week that your body is getting stronger as it repairs itself from all the weeks of tearing it down. Understanding that this is what is happening during taper week may set you up for a successful taper since there is the need to know that what we are doing, or not doing, is helping us have a great race.
Tip #3: Review, Review and Review Again Your Race Strategy
With the extra free time on your hands taper week is the ideal time to review your race strategy. You do have a race strategy right? If your training has been executed to the best of your ability then you will know how the race SHOULD play out. Of course not everything during a triathlon plays out the way it is supposed to but if you embed the race strategy into your head there is a better chance it will play out that way as opposed to ‘winging’ it.
During taper week I will be repeating my heart rate zones for the bike and run legs of 70.3 San Juan. I will also be going over the swim strategy that Maria and John laid out for me. Repeating these over and over to myself will provide me with a clear path from the gun going off to the crossing of the finish line. During heavy volume weeks thinking about race strategy is very difficult, but during taper week there is more time to focus.
Taper week can be difficult for some, especially heading into a new race. That ‘new’ can be a new distance of triathlon or just getting into triathlon in the first place and the key to surviving taper week is to distract yourself as much as possible. Setting up clear goals for your meals, focusing on your strategy and going into your workouts with purpose will allow you to get through the week without too much stress or concern.
What Are Your Tips For Surviving Taper Week?