Five Steps to a Triathlon Taper
by Ben Greenfield/photo courtesy of X2Performance
“Tapering” is a word us triathletes use to call the time spent in the weeks before a race to let the body regain all of the strength that has been used up training, scaling back mileage and preparing for the race. Love it or hate it, it’s proven that tapering results in feeling rejuvenated and have all the energy you need to tackle the competition head-on on race day.
What you do during the days leading to a major race like IRONMAN Kona – and right before the race – is just as crucial as the months of preparation for the competition. While it can be tempting to maximize the final week for further training, doing so can be counterproductive and can spell disaster for your race. So take the few days off from hardcore training and taper the right way by doing these five things and you’re guaranteed to feel a rock star on race day.
1. PERFORM YOGA INVERSION POSES.
Sore, tired legs are not uncommon for triathletes. After all, you’ve spent months on your feet, preparing and training for your incredibly important race. This is why doing yoga inversion poses daily for five to seven days into the competition is crucial. Perform these for five to ten minutes daily during your taper to help drain the blood from your legs – allowing your body to recover faster so that you are light on your feet come race day. One of my favorites is simply lying on your back with your legs full up against a wall or a door, but I share other options in a recent blog post.
2. REPLENISH YOUR BODY’S ENERGY.
When you got to the grocery store to buy food, you need money to get it off the shelves and into your home—and your body is no different. It relies on a currency to create energy. This currency is called adenosine triphosphate (commonly known as “ATP”), and it is required for muscle contractions and cell growth, repair and recovery. Replenishing and restoring your body’s ATP is going to allow you to perform better and recover quicker. Managing your body’s energy is key to any race and keeping your ATP levels high is how you can operate at peak capacity as you put your body through the stress of running a race. You can replenish your ATP through solid food, but that isn’t as fast or as effective as using a something like X2PERFORMANCE. This is a supplement I use daily when I’m training but also right before and during my races—it contains ribose and an enzyme that creates ATP along with other helpful nutrients that will help your body perform more efficiently during long or hard exercise sessions.
You can purchase this supplement online at www.x2performance.com, and to celebrate the 35th IRONMAN World Championships, if you use the Promo code LAVA35, you’ll get 35% off your order for a limited time—not a bad deal.
3. HUNT FOR TIGHT SPOTS IN YOUR BODY.
When you have tight spots in your body, you become more prone to aches, pains, and sprains. Needless to say, you would not want such as these could backfire and cost you your race. So you need to hunt for tight spots one week into the race so that your body is fully conditioned on the day of the competition.
For triathletes, the lower back, hips, calves, thighs (both the inner and the side of your thighs), are just some of the more commonly tight spots in the body. To do this, first find a quiet location in your house, then grab a muscle roller stick or whatever your choice of workout mobility tools is, and spend the time that you’d typically allow for training for conditioning and loosen these tight spots instead. Your muscles and joints will thank you for it on race day.
4. EAT SIMPLE AND EASY TO DIGEST MEALS.
A week before your competition, begin to prepare quick and easily digestible meals such as those that can be readily made with the use of a blender or a juicer. As you probably already know, digestion takes up considerable energy from your body. So you want to maximize modern technology to help you chew and digest your food for you. This way, you free your digestive energy up and instead have it as reserve for your race. Lemon, carrot, ginger, sea salt, and olive oil can be easily whipped up in a juicer and this combination can already be a nourishing meal. If you want to add protein, you can consider putting in organic collagen into the mix and doing it in a blender instead, or stirring it in after you juice. Another idea would be to blend kale, brazil nuts with almond butter and coconut milk.
5. GET MAXIMUM FEEL FOR THE WATER.
Most triathletes – especially first timers – get intimidated by the swim phase of the race. And this is understandable as it can be very unnerving, considering you’re swimming with thousands of other fellow competitors in open water. This is why it is very important to get the feel for the water even while you’re tapering for the upcoming race. Consider having short swim sessions of fifteen to thirty minutes every day into your race week, rather than long swim sessions few and far between. When you do this, you’ll get to practice your form as well as feel much more confident of your swimming ability – and you won’t be intimidated to tackle this phase come race day.
Again, to get a leg up on your endurance, recovery and overall performance, take 35% off X2PERFORMANCE at www.x2performance.com with the code LAVA35.