The Importance of Tapering for the L’Étape Australia
With the bulk of your training now almost behind you, the last four weeks of your training should be focused on shifting your attending from building base and strength to building speed.
It’s in the last four weeks leading up to an event that many cyclists make the mistake of training too much. If you feel that you are behind in your training, then resist the urge to start cramming in a heap of riding during the last four weeks before the L’Étape Australia. That will only result in you getting to the event fatigued and peaking several weeks after it.
The Hard and Soft Taper
There are two ways to taper; the hard and the soft taper. A hard taper has you training hard up until very close to the event then we drop your training load very quickly. The soft taper starts dropping the training load earlier more gradually.
While a hard taper is sometimes preferred by the pros, it’s much harder to get the timing right. If you aren’t a seasoned rider with a lot of experience with tapering, then I recommend that you avoid doing a hard taper. A soft taper has you back off your volume and increases your intensity over the last three to four weeks before the event.
Photo by Felipe Silva
How We Taper
Tapering has you reducing your riding volume while increasing your riding intensity. Your intensity efforts should be short and punchy with lots of recovery in between. Your last big and hard rides should be done on the weekend of the 16-17th November.
During the week, we have our riders focused on one-hour recovery rides and indoor training sessions critical to getting a fast time at the event. These sessions help build hill climbing speed and manage the surges they’ll encounter in bunches:
How to Know If You Have Got Your Taper Right
As you start to drop off your volume and increase your riding intensity, you’ll start to freshen up and will be riding faster! It’s important to fight the urge to go out hard on the longer rides you do on the weekends. Remember to keep the intensity short and punchy with lots of recovery in between so you don’t blow your taper before you get to the event.
When you come back from your rides, you should feel that you could have done more. Remember that it’s in the recovery that your body adapts, and your fitness improves – so use the last four weeks to give your body a chance for this to happen.
Finally, remember there is not a set formula that works for everyone. It’s influenced by many factors that include your training load leading up to the event, how you respond to tapering and your overall base fitness.
All the best with your training for L’Étape Australia.
Cycling-Inform helps you climb better and have you riding faster in less than four weeks so you can be your best at your next bunch ride, recreational event, or race.