Tapering for an Olympic Distance Triathlon as Opposed to a Sprint?

author : acbadger
comments : 0

Member Question:
My first Olympic Distance Triathlon is Sunday. For sprints, I don't do much tapering, just swim a little less Thursday, take Friday off, and the swim/ride/run really easy on Sat. Any suggested taper?

Answer:
Good luck with your first Olympic Distance Triathlon. These (so far) are my favorite distance triathlons because you have time to settle into a good pace and finish strong.


Now, those strong finishes I’m referring too are made easier by a well planned taper. It is important to realize that when you compete in an Olympic Distance Triathlon, you are going to be exerting a lot of energy for, anywhere from, 2 to 4 hours!! When I run a marathon, I taper for a good two weeks and I recommend the same for the Olympic Distance Triathlon as they are similar in duration.


Let me be perfectly clear about what I mean by tapering. I don’t mean, take two weeks off from your program. I mean, cut back slightly on the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts. Each week, putting in a little less time in each discipline and allowing your body to rest and recover for the ‘big event!’


For a Sprint Distance Triathlon, I think a week to a week and a half is plenty of time to taper. The distances for each event are so short, that you can perform each discipline once a week during the week before the race. Be sure to cut the workout time in half per discipline. An example of a Sprint taper week would be; swim easy on Monday (20 minutes), bike on Wednesday (40 minute easy) , run on Thursday (25 minutes, RPE 2 to 3), Friday: OFF and include your easy swim/ride/run on Saturday before your event. I wouldn’t do any more than that for the Sprint taper.


For the Olympic Taper, I would cut your regular workouts down by 20% the first week of taper and then reduce that 40% to 50% the last week leading up to race day. You must fuel, rest and hydrate your body properly during these last two weeks. You have done all you can up to that point to prepare you for your “A” race. What you do in the last two weeks is not going to affect your preparedness for this race unless you go overboard by over-training (kind of like cramming last minute for an exam in school). Take this time to focus on your race, maybe practice your transitions a few times and know how you are going to handle nutrition, hydration/fueling during the race (a good training plan will include all of this…so you may have been practicing this all along).


Just keep in mind that the taper period is as important to your body as all of the long hours you’ve put in the pool, on the bike and on the road. It is meant to help you rest, recover and rejuvenate. Take advantage of this time! Your body will thank you…especially when you are crossing the finish line of your first ever Olympic Distance Triathlon! Good luck and be well!!!
 

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date: July 2, 2006

Author


acbadger

Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!

Author

avataracbadger

Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!

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