Feb 25


Categories: General, Glossary

Taper refers to the period of reduced training volume and intensity that occurs before a key race or event. It is a strategic approach to allow the body to recover, repair, and reach peak performance levels for the race.

During a taper, runners gradually decrease their mileage, intensity, and the frequency of their workouts in the weeks leading up to the race. The taper period typically lasts around one to three weeks, depending on the individual, the race distance, and its importance.

The main goals of tapering can be seen as:

Recovery: Tapering allows the body to recover from the accumulated fatigue and minor injuries that may have occurred during the training phase. It gives muscles, tendons, and ligaments time to repair and rebuild, reducing the risk of overuse injuries.

Adaptation: Tapering allows the body to adapt to the training stimulus it has received during the previous weeks or months. It helps optimize energy stores, enhance muscular strength and coordination, and improve neuromuscular efficiency, all of which contribute to improved race performance.

Restoration: Tapering improves glycogen stores in the muscles and liver, leading to better fuel utilization during the race. It also replenishes any depleted nutrients and corrects any imbalances that might have occurred during intense training.

Mental preparation: Tapering not only allows the body to recover but also helps runners mentally prepare for the race. It reduces stress and fatigue, restores motivation and focus, and boosts confidence, enabling runners to approach the race feeling fresh and ready to perform at their best.

During the taper period, runners typically maintain some level of training to keep their bodies active and prevent detraining. However, the overall training load is significantly reduced compared to the peak training phase. The exact tapering strategy may vary depending on individual preferences, race distance, and previous training volume, so it’s essential for each runner to have a taper tailored to their specific needs and goals.

The length and degree of the taper (how severe the reduction in training) is much discussed and there is equivocal evidence on its practice. The obvious worry by many being that the training reduction will result in a loss of fitness, and so a balance is always sought.

A clear benefit of TrainAsONE is that its machine learning algorithms can generate an ideal taper for each individual, considering their specific training, fitness and goals.

About The Author

Dr. Sean Radford, the Founder & CEO of TrainAsONE, is a medical doctor, IT expert, coach and podium finisher in international endurance events. He has dedicated more than 20 years to the research of health, fitness and social well-being of the general population. He has been developing Artificially Intelligent (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools to help tackle some of the world’s leading health issues. Dr Radford is a Tech Ambassador for the UK, considered a leading expert in his field, and is a regular speaker at key events, as well as an author of numerous research publications.