Coach Dave Bradley’s Blog

The Dark Art of Tapering


For the uninitiated the period just before a race is known as tapering.  This is where you let your body recover from all the hard training you have done over the last few months.  In doing so you become stronger and ready for your big race.

We use Training Peaks to measure Paul’s athletic performance.  If we can achieve his Chronic Training Load (CTL) and Training Stress Balance (TSL) to coincide on the day of the London Marathon then Paul will run like a dream. (Ideally the TSL score will be about +1) Getting this to happen is really difficult.  With Olympians it’s easy.  They can rest whenever they want.  Unfortunately, the rest of us have to work, look after families and fit training into our busy schedules.  In Paul’s case he is flying to China and back. Not exactly the best taper.

A traditional taper should involve similar training sessions to your norm but at much reduced distance and intensity.  You DON’T STOP TRAINING.  What usually happens is you feel absolutely exhausted as your body goes into repair mode.  Hopefully by week 2 or even week 3 if you are on a long taper you are feeling refreshed. In these weeks the training load is even lower.
02B83615The new ‘Chinese’ taper for Paul is going to be a reverse taper.  This is very little training but plenty of walking this week as he enjoys China.  He will hopefully feel dreadful as his body repairs.  Next week we will up the training again but only to a very low level.  Hopefully CTL and TSB stars will align and he will hit the start line in London at peak condition.

This week’s training focus

Easy training.  Testing new trainers.  Plenty of walking.

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