Tapering for the Open
Coach Avery breaks down a simple taper process for us:
Tapering is planned recovery training or rest before an event. In other words, a programmed taper is a formalized reduction in training volume for a specific period designed to enhance performance. There are a lot of misconceptions regarding tapering, but with decades of research on the topic the science is clear – It works.
Many athletes worry that too much rest before their competition will make them lose strength and endurance, but research shows this isn’t so. Fitness in endurance athletes (measured by maximal aerobic capacity, VO2max) is not lost, but may increase following taper. Along those same lines, with strength/power athletes, short-term complete rest (about one week or less) does not reduce the force-producing capacity of muscle. Rather, the taper has been shown to improve strength.
As the coaches have talked about at the whiteboard, the volume is decreasing to prep for the Open. Since the Open is a 5-week competition you will see a mini taper every week to prep you to peak on Friday night and one Monday. The weeks’ format will look and sound as follows, Monday and Tuesday will be high intensity and challenging. Wednesday will be of a conditioning base that will keep you from getting beat up, Thursday will be a short and fast metcon followed by a long yoga and mobility session.
The take home message is that many athletes never reach the full potential due not allotting time for a planned rest! 1) tapering will only increase fitness, 2) tapering allows for adaptation (neuromuscular and cell adaptation). As always if you listen to coaches understand they are setting you for success not failure, and Trust the process!