Fasting / Restricting during taper week. Is it OK!?

Hi, been listening to podcasts for a while, new to the forums (first post), looks like a fabulous resource.

I have a GranFondo in Italy this Sunday (130km, 3000m). I won’t be doing any riding this week leading up to it (a small ride Saturday). I am very close to but not quite at my goal body mass and have been doing intermittent fasting.

With a couple of days of fasting this week, I think I can just about hit my target. I know in real world terms a 500-1kg loss isn’t going to change results but psychologically it will be a nice boost, especially on the hilly parts of the event.

My question: is it OK to restrict/fast during a taper week to an event, so long as I load in the couple of days before the event? Will this place unnecessary stress on the body that should be avoided as I look to regain freshness for the weekend?

Thanks in advance

The amount of fat you will drop doing this for an extra week is pretty much negligible. All you will do is drop water weight, which you will immediately put back on when you eat prior to your event.

Additionally you will put yourself in a glycogen depleted state during your taper workouts, meaning you will have to pay catch up with your nutrition in the day or two before the event, plus you won’t recover as well from the workouts.

I don’t see any point to this to be honest, with a week to go all the work is done and you need to make sure you are fresh, well fueled and ready to perform at your best. Nothing of significance is going to change in 7 days. What you are suggesting is pretty similar to deciding that you aren’t fit enough and doing a couple of really hard VO2 sessions during the week before your A race, it won’t make you any fitter for that event, just more tired.


Thanks v.much for your input, much appreciated.

I won’t actually be doing any workouts/riding this week (apart from a short ride the day before). I guess my point was if:

  • I fuel the couple of days before
  • I can drop a little for both a (very small) physical and a psychological boost
  • There is negligible impact to my fitness/preparation

Is it OK to do!?

I don’t think this is wise. Think of the weight as fuel

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If you were racing a very short up hill TT like the ones that are becoming very popular in the UK, maybe, just maybe, you could get a positive outcome from starving yourself a bit during taper (and even from very slight dehydration). Anything more aerobic is a no no.

Let’s be clear here, you are not doing a “Taper” week, you aren’t even doing a “Recovery” week. You are taking a rest week with a kinda “opener” the day before. Doing this the week prior is generally not recommended, as it is likely to leave you feeling flat on race day. However if it’s proven to have worked for you in the past it “may” be ok. I’d just argue there’s a better way though.

Your goals appear to be misaligned. You seem fixated on a weight goal rather than being the best performance ready. Again, “if” you’ve proven this to be effective in the past, I guess give it a go :grimacing:. However, I’d argue there is a much better way. You can chase weight loss or performance gains, but not both (aside from offseason Base training).

A “Taper Week” is about shedding fatigue while still keeping fitness high. So one should reduce stressors and the duration (not intensity) of their workouts but remain primed for race day. You appear to be doing the opposite of what’s generally recommended and further hampering yourself by fasting.


Thanks for the feedback guys.

@MI-XC Yes you’re pretty much spot on. Basically I misjudged my TSS over last few weeks. According to both Strava Fitness Freshness and Xert readiness (i’m yet to find a way to interpret the TrainerRoad chart easily for similar purpose) I’m only coming in to Freshness for the race Sunday WITHOUT any rides/workouts this week.

So I basically decided the best course of action may be to ease off completely this week to avoid adding training stress, with just an ‘opener’ as you say the day before ( not sure if this is the right thing to do).

Based on the above decision and the lack training over the next few days I saw this as a potential opportunity to have a few days of fasting (say to Thursday) before fuelling appropriately for Sunday.

To be clear, I’m not fixated on a weight goal, my primary objective is to be best performance ready, see above of what I’m doing for this in terms of rest (not saying that is the correct approach).
The question is really whether a few days of fasting with no training will negatively impact performance readiness (and could help a little physically and psychologically), assuming I fuel appropriately a couple of days up to the event

Unless you feel excessively tired I would ignore these markers and complete a traditional taper week (half the volume/maintain intensity/fuel well).

Remember that all a Fitness/freshness graphs tells you is your average training load over two different periods of time and then the difference between the two. Nothing more, nothing less. While this can be useful to gauge where you are, it should never be a substitute for staying in tune with your own body. So if you did a ride on sunday and felt horrific, maybe take a few days off but if you felt normal, do a taper week.

Additionally some people perform better at different levels of freshness. I perform very well in the -5 to 0 range, and I have teammates who are better in the +5 to +10 range and even the +20-+25 range. It is variable and you need to find these things out yourself.


Do yourself a favor and don’t take the full week off. Worrying about a freshness metric and dumping fitness to hit a number isn’t going to do you any favors come race day.

Put in a light week with some sharp efforts (a real taper) and let the number be what it is. Better to race with a bit of fatigue than flat legs and lungs.

Next time you know to plan your taper better.

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Ok guys thanks, much appreciated. In fact when I say to be fresh, I’m talking about a freshness score of +30 for race day.

With a couple of short intense sessions this week I think I’ll still be positive freshness so this feels the best approach as you say.

Yes, it’s a learning experience I guess. It was all on track until the weekend before last: I did a 140km high intensity race simulation and underestimated the TSS effect it would have (actually i didn’t expect to feel as good as I did on the ride and managed to sustain a pretty decent power level throughout - hence the resultant high TSS). That’s had a bit of a knock on effect with last week and this coming in to the event.