Top tapering tips

The tapering phase is a specialised exercise training strategy which requires athletes to reduce their training load to enhance performance.

Many runners seem to fear the idea of cutting back on their training plan as they believe it will negatively influence performance right before the big event.

There is no need to worry, as reducing your mileage is one of the most important parts of the training plan and will allow you to reach a peak in performance!

Various techniques have been specifically designed to progressively lessen the negative psychological and physiological influences of daily training in preparation for an up-coming athletic competition or event.

The reduction of the training load can be attained through the modification of different components which include: the volume of training, frequency, intensity, the taper duration and its pattern.

  • Training volume should decrease by 60-85%

  • Maintain/or slightly increase training intensity for a successful taper phase and to help avoid de-training

  • Training frequency should decrease by no more than 20%

  • Commonly recommended to start two weeks prior to competition or event (the longer the race distance, the longer the tapering phase)

  • Be mindful that the primary aim is to minimise accumulated fatigue and maximise recovery, not to attain additional fitness gain

  • Do not be alarmed by feeling ‘insecure’ at the idea of a reduced training load as this is a normal challenge most athletes face

Chenelle Barber

Sports Scientist