You may have been training for weeks or months already, but now it is 2 weeks before your race and it's time to think about resting. Many triathletes find this more difficult than swimming 5,000 yards, biking the hills, or running a half marathon!
Here are some things to keep in mind if you are beginning your taper or rest period before your race.
1. Do longer warmups and warmdowns. You can keep your distance up, but start to add more to the beginning and end portion of your workout. This ‘active rest’ will assure that you are well rested for your race but not out of shape.
2. Avoid big meals and sugar. Tapering is an adjustment for your body, and your immune system may not be as strong during this time. Big meals and carbohydrates like sugar will wear your immune system and leave you susceptible to colds and flus. Keep in mind that as your workout intensity decreases, you must decrease calorie intake accordingly.
3. Get as much sleep as you can before midnight. Ideally, get to bed by 10:30. The sleep you get before midnight is the most crucial to your recovery. You will feel more rested if you can do this for at least 2 weeks before your event.
4. Lay off the strength training. This is more of an individual call (some people feel better if they are doing some strength work all the way up until the event, others will be too broken down unless they take a good 2 weeks off), but at the minimum, you should go lighter in the weeks leading up to your event.
5. Avoid caffeine. It may be tough if you are a coffee addict, but 2 weeks of not having that morning cup will give you more natural energy for your race. Take it from 6-time Ironman champion Mark Allen- he practiced this for every race and it worked pretty well for him!
6. Increase your meditation or yoga. Less time working out means more time to prepare mentally! If you don't do yoga already, don't start now. However, find some quiet time during the day to get away from work and working out to clear your mind. Think about how easy that swim will be since you are well-prepared with Tri Swim Coach!
7. You will have more energy during your rest or taper period. Don't be tempted to use it! Save it for your event and you will be glad you did.
Have a great race!
Kevin operates the website http://www.TriSwimCoach.com , a resource for beginning through intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. Kevin has also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” which is sold on his website in downloadable form at http://www.triswimcoach.com .