You’ve been training everyday consistently. Your race is coming up. And the week before your race, your coach asks you to go easy on your training. “What? Why? Won’t I lose all my fitness from my prior training?”
For new endurance race enthusiasts, this strategy might seem unusual. It is called TAPERING – the act of reducing your training intensity and volume in the run up to any race.
Right after each swim, bike or run training, your body will feel tired. This tiredness, or fatigue, will last for an hour to a couple of days*, depending on the intensity of your training. What you want to do before any race, is to shed this fatigue quickly so that you can perform well in the race. You do this by reducing your training load and letting your body recover from the built up fatigue.
On race day, you’ll be able to feel the difference in your performance, feeling the fitness that you’ve gradually built up from long hours and days of training. Your body feels strong and fresh, as if you’ve gained extra fitness. But that feeling is actually the result of removing fatigue from your system. If you taper at the right point, you do not have to worry that you will lose your fitness from reducing the training load.
*A word of caution, if you feel fatigued for longer than 48 hours in your daily training, that is an indication that you are overtraining and not ready for that intensity. So go easy on your next session!
Fitness gradually builds with consistency in training. TAPER the training before the race and you will feel fantastic on race day.
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