The Pre-race Taper: Tips from Mark Allen & Luis Vargas

It's nearly taper time! My husband's big event Ford Ironman Coeur d'Alene is June 21st, leaving him 34 days until the cannon fires on race morning.

Of course, it helps to have a working bike before you start your taper. (Ken found out Friday May 8th that his FELT S22 had a crack in the rear seat-stay making it unrideable. We've been working since then to get a replacement frame under FELT's lifetime warranty.) Ken has an appointment this Friday (May 22) to get a new bike fit on the frame currently in transit.

So, that brings us to the taper. We hope Ken will have his new bike fit & settled this week, giving him two days before starting a 4-week taper & 9 nine days if using a 21-day taper. Oh my.

A few weeks ago we listened to six-time Ironman World Champion Mark Allen & Luis Vargas, USAT Level II coach, co-founders of MarkAllenOnline, discuss "Beginner's Guide to Triathlon Training, Peaking & Periodization" via a USA Triathlon webinar.

Allen and Vargas suggest a 4-week taper, cutting 15-30 percent off of previous peak week's total volume and workout length. Ninety percent of endurance athletes go into events overtrained, they said. It's better to be 10 percent undertrained than 10 percent overtrained.

The taper may feel strange. Allen & Vargas summed it up with these four phases:
week one: feel like a champ
week two: feel like a chump
week three: feel more normal
week four: feel like a champ again

Overall, you need rest, suggested Allen. Naps are great ideas! Read more from Mark Allen in "The Perfect Taper" and Five Perfect Weeks to Kona: The Art of Tapering.

More Taper Help

Question for You:
- What's your taper experience been like? Were you able to stay on plan?
- Who else could use a nap?

photo: our youngest catches some sleep.


teacherwoman said...

Oh boy, could I use (another) nap! Training is wiping me off my feet!

Teenage Tri Queen said...

Thanks for following my blog! I am sorry that your husbands bike has a crack in it! That happened to my moms Scott, and I am pretty sure that she got the new frame for free :) ! Good luck with the bike, and have fun tappering and/or napping :) !!

Meredith said...

I do love naps!!

My husband who is also doing IMCDA will be using a 3 week taper. This week he backs off and then next week he builds again before the official taper.

See you in Idaho!

Trishie said...

1. I could use a nap !
2. Tapering ... ah, my best friend and worst enemy ! Part of my problem w tapering is that I include with it a ton of chocolate. I hate not getting in my usual amount of miles + meters but know it's for the best, and I think a lot of athletes underestimate the importance of taper and rest.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

napping can be great!!

fingers crossed about the bike frame