Taper Volume, Not Intensity!Jun 08, 2022
How to Taper Running for a Race
Most people have no idea how to effectively taper training as a race or competition approaches.If you’ve never worked with a good coach it can seem like a toss-up between decreasing the length of your runs, doing fewer runs per week, or running at a slower pace.
Determining what strategy will be most effective really comes down to a 2 basic training principles:
1) Training Volume is the variable most associated with fatigue.
2) Training Specificity is increasingly important as your competition approaches.
Decrease Volume, Maintain Intensity
Knowing those basic principles, we can make the following conclusions:
Decreasing training volume will allow for recovery and super-compensation.
Maintaining training intensity ensures the race-specific training adaptations are maximized.
Of course, these are the principles and there may be exceptions.
If you compete in a highly technical sport it may be smart to maintain high frequency training to maximize motor learning and sequencing.
Scheduling tapering takes knowledge of various components, including the specific athlete and the demands of the sport/competition. This will need continuous monitoring to assess physiological changes, as each athlete may respond differently, especially year to year. Therefore, different goals, strategies, and planning must be implemented. Nevertheless, understanding the principles and the physiology of training adaptations will help you make coaching decisions that set your athletes up for success.
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