The tapering period

The “taper” is the period preceding a race. During this period, we considerably reduce the training load and the intensity of the trainings. This period, that usually arrives after a long and grueling training block, allows the body to rest and to recover in order to be in great shape on “D-Day”. The length of the taper varies depending on the type of the race and the needs of each athlete. For a sprint or standard (olympic) triathlon, a one week period is generally sufficient. Here are some answers to the questions that people often ask me regarding the tapering period:


Should I do « intensités » during the tapering period?

Yes, it is important to continue doing « intensités » to maintain your fitness level attained during the preceding training sessions. However, it is not necessary to do tough training sessions. Only a few accelerations of 30-45 seconds could be enough.


When should I take a day off?

Generally speaking, it is recommended to take a day off two days before the race, instead of taking a rest day the day before the race. It is recommended, the day before the race, to do a small session of swimming, biking and running.


What should I eat the day before the race?

Something that you are used to eat and that is easily digestible. Prioritize carbohydrates and limit fat foods. You need to replenish your glycogen stores in your muscles and the carbohydrates (rice, pastas, pizza, bread, quinoa, etc.) are foods to prioritize.


What else should I do during my tapering period to be ready for the race?

At the beginning of the week, it is the perfect moment to get a massage and to bring your bike to the bike shop to ensure that everything is in order. The rest of the week, prioritize rest, make sure to be familiar with the course and relax by going to the cinema or the restaurant with friends.


Good luck !

Antoine Jolicoeur-Desroches