What is Tapering in Cycling?
You want to “feel it” during the race day, have fresh legs, push in pedal like there is no resistance, being super motivated, and there is a way to do it. It’s called tapering.
Tapering is reducing the duration and little reduction of intensity in the days/weeks before main competitions.
When you are planing your season, you can see some patterns during the year.
When you focusing on building base your fatigue and fitness will be steadily growing and freshness will be on relatively the same low levels with some “bumps” during recovery weeks.
You can see big spikes in fatigue during training camps or stage races and you can see spikes in freshness before them.
Reducing a load of workout before the main race is extremely important to be able to reach your peak performance.
How and When To Do Tapering in Cycling?
Now you know what is Tapering.
We would like to tell you more about how and when to tapering so you can get into your peak performance right on your racing day.
Tapering can take from a few days up to about 4 weeks.
Let’s talk about 2-weeks tapering for one of your main events. Your main event is in 14 days.
You are planing last 2-weeks before race.
The first week of tapering should be around 75% off TSS (Training Stress Score) from the average of your 6 weeks.
Second week should be only around 50% off TSS from average of your 6 weeks.
For example, if your avg. from the last 6 weeks was 600 TSS. You should be doing 450 TSS in 2 weeks prior to the race, and only 300 TSS in last week before the race.
This big reduction in value allows you to be fresh and boost your performance to the top level.
What about intensity?
Intensity should stay on the same level or even go a little higher to imitate race intensity but remember about reducing the number of intervals.
For example, if you were doing 5 x 4 min VO2 Max intervals bring it down to 3-4 x 4 min intervals.
Remember that intensity has to stay high but it can be tempting to go harder and longer because you will be filling “fresh legs”. Don’t make this mistake and stay with the plan.
Those are overall guideline that can work in many of cases but remember to test it and optimize for your individual training plan.