Tapering strategy? (mid-40's male)

Hey all –

I have my last race of the year this Saturday. It is technically a ‘B’ race for me, but (let’s be honest) I’m treating it like a B+/A- race. I only do 3 races a year, so they all feel kind of important to me.

Next year I am going to do some C races for fun – but for now I only do three. Because of that, I feel like I’ve never really nailed my taper…sometimes I don’t do enough and am at the start line with flat legs. Other times the minute the races starts, I know I have too much fatigue in my legs. Frustrating.

Here is where I am at now:

Due to a business trip that started Monday and ends today (Wednesday), I wanted to do some intensity and volume one week out without burying myself – so last weekend I did a ramp test on Saturday and then did a pretty stiff outside ride on Sunday (2 hours / 168 TSS / IF 0.93).

Monday/Tuesday: Nothing

I am currently planning on stealing some taper/race week workouts from a specialty plan and was going to finish the week with:

Wednesday (today): Huxley -5
Thursday: Nothing
Friday morning: Truuli -2
Saturday = race day

I’m always torn on whether to do a ‘opener’ the day before the race, or stack workouts Wed/Thur and then rest Friday.

I’d be interested to hear what other masters level athletes have found success with in terms of taper.

For reference, the race I’m doing is a gravel road race of about ~2 hours which is mostly flat, but will have 4-5 punchy climbs which will likely be selective.

Thanks all.

2 HRS @ .93 … OUCH!! What type of workout was that out of interest?

The issue with the taper is you really have to know what works for you as an individual, this can really only be achieved with trial and error. BUT you can practice by “tapering” into hard workouts and/ or testing days.

I’d always recommend an opener the day before, it’s also good to have one last go over equipment and setup.

I often prescribe a taper which begins 5 days out and follows volume (same as event), intensity, rest, opener, race which is kind of what you’re doing. You may need to play around with the volume and/or intensity of those two days to get it just right for you.

Another taper which I see work well for people is alternate days hard easy hard easy etc. 7-10 days out from your A race. Working backwards obviously so that you have an easy day before race day!

The below may be of some interest to you

It wasn’t a TR workout, it was an outside ride – so the IF is based on Normalized Power. There were stop lights/stop signs, etc. For my outside rides, I more or less hammer it all the time because of the frequent stops (I live in the city of Chicago). So it’s probably not as tough as it looks. I’ll try to paste the link below.

Thanks for your input on the rest of question. Really helpful.

Gravel Prep

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Whilst it might not work for everyone, this is what I’ve found works for me with a taper. I’ll only taper for A races. I usually do around 8hrs/wk in the blocks leading to a race. In that time I’ll be doing some race simulation efforts. Two weeks out, I’ll cut the volume to about 60%, but maintain the intensity. In the week of the race (assuming it’s a Sunday) I’ll so the following:

Monday - 30 mins easy.
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - 30 mins easy
Thursday - 30 mins easy
Friday - 5mins 320W, 4 mins @ 350W, 3 mins @ 370W, 2 mins @ 420W, 1 min @ 500W. 10 mins rest between. (FTP - 320W)
Sat - 3x1 min full gas with 10 mins in between.
Sun - race.

The idea is to reduce fatigue and increase form. There will be a slight drop in fitness on the graph, but performance will be improved.

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I usually don’t do the complete workouts suggested for the taper week but will try to do at least half of the intervals. This is where the low volume plans are really geared towards someone only doing the tss suggested in the plan. If you are adding outdoor rides to a lv plan instead of swapping your outdoor ride in a mv plan the taper won’t be right for you.

Doing some harder workouts the week before a race will also feel better if you take the weekend before pretty easy with just one ot two hard efforts.