I used to think tapering meant feet up, hardly any running and lots of eating for a week or so before the event.
For pro advice, you can read about tapering with coach David Roche here. For anecdotal experience, read on.
How I used to taper
I looked forward to the tapering week, sometimes two. Take it easy, occasionally run a few k’s. By a few I mean 3-4. So very little.
It meant a week or so of eating whatever I wanted. Awesome!
Days of sitting around, usually reading. That’s not so bad. There’s always something to learn.
But there was something that quite right. Reaching race day as I did in May this year, I felt heavy. Heavy legged.
My overall programme, which could be named hit and miss at best, was ending with a slothful period.
What was I thinking?
To put on a positive spin, it was a learning experience that has led to something much better.
How I am tapering now
Good training is sustainable trainingDavid Roche
Tapering is part of the programme. With a measured, gradual approach to building fitness, speed, resilience, quality movement, stability and more, I have no need to spend a week or two resting to recover.
The week before SDW 100 miler, my training now looks like this:
- Saturday: 20k easy on trails, hilly not steep. Run down hills with brakes off (building courage and skill)
- Sunday: 10k easy + 4 x 30 sec hills (fast & smooth)
- Monday: rest day, stretching/mobility, breathing
- Tuesday: 10k easy, core/stability training
- Wednesday: 8k easy
- Thursday: 5k easy
- Friday: 5k easy
- Saturday: SDW
Feeling rested, ready, and relishing the opportunity to hit the trail next Saturday.
Now that is tapering.
Several times a day I stretch with micro practices dotted through the day – balance, stretch, mobilise, massage gun, roll, yoga pose, mindful breathing.
Most days I will sit and meditate. Other days are micro meditations of a few minutes. I am lucky because I get to practice with people most days as well in the clinic when we look at different ways to change state, create calm and clarity to help overcome persistent pain.
Walking. I walk everywhere.
Standing. At home I stand to work. In the clinic, I get up and move around often as a matter of course.
Our mind’s are embodied. Thinking emerges from the body state and the body state can depend upon what we are thinking. There really is no separation. We have just the one experience.
Hence, movement is a fundamental part of being at our best.
The team looked after my dad and us so well in his final days. To help them continue this vital end of life care is so important to our society.