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Training Tips (6)

Updated November 23, 2003

The Taper...


In the last week or two before race day, after months of gradually increasing your workload, now you must reduce it dramatically. The idea is to become progressively more rested while retaining the benefits of all that training.

Different athletes will follow different tapering patterns, depending on experience and what level they're at.

 The Taper -- One Week 

Here's one example of a taper, supposing that your schedule has brought you to a final long skate of 60 km on a Saturday, exactly one week before race day: two days later, do 30 km; two days after that, do 15 km; then rest completely for the last two days before race day. The details aren't crucial, but the principal is to reduce the workload by half, twice, so that your final practice skate, two or three days from race day, is comparatively brief and easy.



 The Taper -- Two Weeks 

If you are a high-end athlete and are aiming for a time under 6 hours, you may benefit from a taper of two weeks or longer. In this case, reduce your workload more gradually than in the example above. As you become more rested, discipline yourself to stay focussed, adding a few brief high-intensity bouts to your workouts so you don't become bored.

To maximize the benefits of your taper, be sure to include a little speed and technical work, like hills and turns, in your final easy skate. Not enough to get tired, just enough to remind you how to do it.


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