Athletes should taper to help with the glycogen stores. During training we are using so much of these stores. A good planned taper will magnify the efforts that have been but in, bolstering these glycogen levels in the muscles and update muscular concentrations.
Some riders think a taper is a time for easy riding. Studies have shown although rest during this period is good, the workouts need to be intense. This leads me to believe that some of the best tapering periods are done with shortened workouts, but at nearly race pace. For example, if you normally train for an hour in a specified zone, keep the same zone or raise the bar and cut the time by 15/20/30 percent. I also believe recovery time should be a main part of the plan during this period. I’ve touched on recovery in other blogs. In this case I am talking about once the workout is over, what you ate, what do you drink, how do you take your shower, how fast are you off your feet, how to you cool down, and how well did you sleep. I know for most people that are just trying to get to the next grand fondo, this stinks and it is a bit too intense for them. I can guarantee that recover spent during a taper or during any period can make or break your event training.
My finally thought is to really just get a plan, stick to the plan, and analyze all aspects of your plan. Be willing to make changes as things change. So if you hurt your ankle, be willing to sit out for a day or two. A good coach will manage this for you and you won’t even know it is happening. All of a sudden he sends you an alternate workout for the day and you’re on your way. Tapering is only for you’re A level events. You may have a rest day before other races, but an official taper is only for priority races, all other races are training. If you win or do well, then that means training is going good!
The Lead Pack Cycling Group