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I'm on a more or less intense training regime in the last few weeks. As I have a bike race coming up in two weeks I need to find the time to begin slowing down my training and start a short resting phase before the race.

Mo: Strength
Tu: Cardio
We: Strength
Th: Cardio
Fr: Strength
Sa: Party
Su: Pizza

Cardio primarily means biking for some hours (50-100km) in the afternoon. Depending on my mood and the weather I sometimes add half an hour of swimming in the morning.
Strength means Stronglifts 5x5, as I just restarted it the weight ranges are in the lower area (around 30-40kg depending on the exercise).
I add some bodyweight exercises (push ups, pull ups, headstands, planks etc), yoga and other cardio every now and then when I am bored.

The race is two weeks from now on a Saturday, how should I reduce the training intensity?
When to stop adding weight to 5x5?
On which day should I stop lifting completely?

Note: I know this workout program smells like overtraining, please ignore that fact. I know it myself, I can currently keep up to it and am more interested in the fun of exercising than gains. Additionally I can't keep it up for much longer as soon as I have to study again.
Note2: Ignore that this question is about a specific event, simply answer like the event is still 2 weeks from now, as there will always be another race two weeks from now.

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3 Answers 3

Unfortunately, tapering is one of those things that is far from an exact science, and varies from individual to individual. Generally it's learned through long trial and error.

That being said, my taper period is 2-3 weeks depending on the intensity of the event and how much I am targeting it as an 'A' race. I generally cut 30% from my workouts in week 1, another 20% in week two, and light workouts/refresher only in week 3.

I would try cutting by 20-30% this week, and light on the cardio next week as well as any lower body stuff. Other than making sure you replenish glycogen stores, you can probably keep the upper body, but if you start feeling fatigued don't be afraid to bag it. Then, you have a baseline of what to work from the next time you need to taper.

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I've never competed in a cardio-based sport like biking. But I know in weightlifting you generally start to taper ~3weeks out from a competition. Since you lose your cardiovascular endurance much faster than your strength, I think the 2 weeks you have to play with is a reasonable time frame.

I would cut out almost all the intensity and volume from your strength program. Stop adding weight now, and just do a 1x5 or a few 3s at a very comfortable weight (maybe %80?). You won't lose very much strength in 2 weeks because you're staying pretty active. And I would definitely leave 2 or 3 days between your last lifting session and the race.

I won't really speak to your bike/cardio workouts just because I'm not familiar with that kind of training.

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Cut down on long distance training
The most important part is to cut down on the total amount of workout one week before the race and sometimes two weeks, depending on how you feel. Cut the training in half or the total distance by about one third is a good rule of thumb. This will give the body a good opportunity to relax without going into “sleep” mode.

Keep the speed
Still workout at the same speed as before only cut down on volume as this is a good way to keep the edge of the capacity you have built-up before during your normal training weeks.

Easy workout but do not rest
To take one, maybe two, days of before the race is good and will help the body but resting for several days in a row will have the opposite effect and will make the muscles tighten up and you will lose the flow of your workout. It is better to do a very slow and not so long ride before hand just to have the body move around a bit and keep your feeling of still working out. You can call this ”active rest”.

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