Tapering for the UWCT! (…and any other event for that matter!)
With Brett Buist, Physiotherapist and Exercise Physiologist, Star Physio
Tapering is the training period just before an event where your training load is reduced to ensure peak performance. The challenge is therefore to find the balance between resting to allow the body to physiologically and neurologically recover whilst maintaining technique and performance. For those competing in the UWCT, I’m sure you are already in your tapering phase.
A few tips to help are;
- Reduce the volume of training (by at least 50%) but not the intensity of training. Maintaining the intensity is the real key here that many people get wrong, and end up going in to the event flat.
- Avoid fatiguing resistance training in the last week, especially eccentric exercises that can cause delayed onset muscle soreness, unless you have been specifically asked to continue these by your physio or strength and conditioning coach. For those who have been enjoying the benefits of strength and conditioning as we keep singing about, you may well maintain your loads, but with modified sets and reps to minimise fatigue.
- Maintain the ranges of motion that are most important. For most cyclist this should incorporate stretching the hips and hamstrings.
- For endurance sports, often the taper period will be short (between 4 days and 2-3 weeks) Tapering is highly individual, and the length and volume change will only be optimised with trial and error for you, but if you follow these guides as a start, you can be confident to hit the weekend in great shape!
A well-programmed taper will not result in fitness loss but will actually complement performance. In fact, tapering can improve performance by up to 5%.
Best of luck for the UWCT event this weekend, and if you are not already doing proper strength and conditioning as part of your training, get in touch with us or have a look at our website http://starphysiowa.com.au/service/rehab-and-conditioning/ and see the huge benefits in both performance and resilience to injury!