Triathlon Taper blues

Tapering, Triathlon -

Triathlon Taper blues

Over the last two weeks, many members of the Tri Edge squad have been on a taper leading into key events this year.  For many this is the first tapering experience and it can be one of the toughest phases to go through due to the range of physical and emotional turmoil the body experiences through this phase.

Some things you may experience when coming off a serious buildup are:

  • Being consistently tired
  • Feeling sluggish in training sessions
  • Increased appetite
  • Being lethargic, or an inability to concentrate well (highly risky for road riding and walking in the dark!)
  • General emotions of feeling low, down

The reason why we experience the
above symptoms are due to the body making the necessary adaptations  and what I like to call 'catching up' on the recovery from usually an extended buildup duration. Although these effects are perfectly normal the flow on effects are what cause more issues.  These can range from:
  • Questioning the overall preparation - 'feeling of not being ready'
  • Doubting ones self confidence - which has a spiraling and compounding effect
  • Not trusting the process - feeling like you need to do additional training or you may loose some conditioning

The advice we give to all athletes through this time is to fill your life up with peripheral activities.  Perhaps you have not had the chance to spend enough time with family over the last month or so of big training.  This is a great chance to re-allocate some time and energy there.  Or, you may have little things to tidy up around bike maintenance or season planning.  These are all great activities to keep your mind off the negative and staying on the positive.

A low will always precede a high, however stay aware of the following things that are not normal in a taper
  • The onset of a head cold or cough - this can escalate quickly and if you are well conditioned can be tough to shake with one week left to the race.  The rule is to increase your vitamin intake and be aware of those with sickness that you may come into contact in your day to day life.  Wash hands and eat clean, well prepared food.
  • Strains or muscle pulls - when your body is on the edge ready for competition you also need to be aware of unusual strains or pulls, especially if it is an area where you have had a historic injury or managing an injury.  For most athletes, we have already preplanned for this through a regular massage sessions (each week), however if this has not been built into your plan the only other option is to simply skip the planned session/s and rest. 

Overall, 95% of the work has been done. There is little to no improvement you can make over these final weeks on a training adaptation point of view, however there are huge risks and losses that can occur if you go over the edge. 

Stay calm, stay safe, stay happy and healthy.  You are going to have a great race!

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