Surviving Taper Week

[caption id="attachment_6714" align="alignright" width="244"]taper_triathlon_tips_ironman Source: Fast At Forty[/caption] Taper week(s) can be stressful for some as they feel that they are not at the fitness level for the upcoming event.  They may feel that they need to do more in order to get to the starting line and thus taper week can cause such a big stress.  The scenario doesn't have to unfold that way.  Taper is something that should be embraced and looked at as the opportunity to get stronger and faster and mentally ready for the race. I have been through 3 tapers this year and am in the process of going through my 4th major taper.  I will say that as this year has gone on and my experience in triathlon has grown my ability to accept taper has increased.  Through trial and error I am able to truly enjoy this taper and I am going give you a few points of what I am doing to enjoy this time.  I would be grateful if you provided your tips and tricks to surviving taper so that I can continue to get better at it. Surviving Taper Week Tips:
  • Embrace it.  You have put in days, weeks, months of hard work and now is the time to slow down and get the body ready to go on race day.  The race is the icing on the cake and should be enjoyed but if you get to the race as a bundle of nerves always questioning whether or not you did enough you will not enjoy the race.  Getting rid of the nerves, as much as possible, occurs during taper so embrace the change in structure.
  • Plan to do something for yourself during this time.  In these three weeks of taper I have had my mother visit for a week, been to Grand Rapids, Michigan to hang out with Kevin and Jennie and attend a Notre Dame football game, gotten a massage, getting a haircut and pedicure and finally going to a movie in a theatre and staying awake the entire movie.
  • Stay in the shower for an extra 5 minutes and relax.  Let the hot/warm water run over you and just relax and let go.
  • Do your workouts at different times of the day so that it is not something you are chasing.  Get it in on your schedule instead of creating a schedule for everything else around your workout.
  • Call the family and friends you haven't spoken to in months.  Catch up and DON'T talk about your race unless they ask you about it and then defer it with answers like:  I'm ready and it's going to be fun.  Bring the conversation back to them since they probably know everything about your training from your Twitter and Facebook updates.
  • Read a book.  Read a magazine.  Read the newspaper while drinking coffee/tea on the front porch (and read a real paper and not on your laptop/iPad)
  • Taper your calorie consumption to match your training.  It is not unusual to gain 2 pounds during this time but if you are worried about it use a journal or online tracking (My Fitness Pal) to keep track of your calories consumption.
These are a few of the tips/tricks I have been doing for the last couple of weeks and will continue into next week when I travel to Arizona on Thursday.  Obviously, experience plays a huge role in being able to embrace the taper.  I am not the ball of nerves I was prior to Ironman Texas and more in a relaxed state with a focus that is also greater than it was for IMTX.

What Are Your Tips And Tricks For Surviving Taper?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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