View Full Version : Taper fears

June 27th, 2011, 09:28 AM
I've read nearly every taper thread on this forum, learnt how people feel like crap and freak out before their meets, I have read about their doubts and fears and the encouraging responses given by experienced users and still I have no idea of what I'm getting into :afraid:

I have been training very intensely for the last two and something weeks. My idea was to peak training then taper. From the 11th to the 24th of June I've swum seventeen times, ten of these workouts were high-intensity race pace stuff with lots of rest, and lifted weights four times. The other workouts were the usual 5km+ ones with my team.

There are two upcoming meets for me which are a week apart and I'm focusing on the second one which is more important.

I have never tapered though and I don't know what I'm doing, I thought that a two-week taper would be fine then I read that the second week is the one when you feel like crap so I fear that I will hit my taper after the meet :doh:

I tried to come up with some kind of a taper plan for these two weeks, the number on the left is the day. Ez/drill stuff is not reported.

24 4x25fr, 2x75fr, 2x50fly
25 OFF
26 OFF
27 2x25fr, 200fr broken
28 2x25fr, 100fly broken, 50fr
29 ?

30 MEET 50fr
1 MEET 50fr/100fly
2 MEET 100fr

4 2x25fr, 75fr
5 2x25fr, 50fly
6 2x25fr
7 1000 ez/drill

8 MEET 200fr
9 MEET 200fly?
10 MEET 100fly/100fr

What do you think? Is it the right road? Should I ever do a full broken 200fr or 100 fly during taper? What should I do on the day before the first meet? :dunno:

I don't know how long it should be, I know that the duration of a taper varies with age, I'm 24 so younger than most here, I should be fine with less rest right? still I fear to miss my taper. If I screw up the second meet I'll have to explain my coach how I have ever come up with this crazy idea of resting, because you know "rest" is a swearword for him :bitching:

Thank you very much :)

June 27th, 2011, 11:39 AM
The length of the taper is determined (in part) by the amount of training you do on a daily basis at your peak. If you're doing 5-6k, your taper could fall in the 2-3 week range (probably closer to 2). I define the start of the taper as the point when you begin decreasing overall practice distance or the distance total of your main set.

As for weights...I wouldn't do more than 1 or 2 other sessions of weights (if I was you) and it would only be at 50-75%.

If you truly want to "swim through" your first meet, the practice the day before the meet should have a similar total distance to the prior day. Don't drastically reduce the practice.

I would never recommend doing anything 400+ at a meet the week before your taper meet...so looking at the events you have planned, I don't think it will negatively impact you. Just make sure your total yardage (or meterage, I guess) at the meet does not surpass the previous days practices, otherwise you're going backwards. So warmup + events + warmdown. Plan those totals ahead of time and see how that compares to the practice totals before and after the meet.

I used to believe tapering was a highly individualized process, but I'm starting to think that it's not really the case. People have a tendency to blame their taper when they don't swim as planned, but I think the reality is that there are many other variables that combine to be more powerful than whether or not you were "off by one week."

Traveling issues (driving, flying, time zones), rest (between events or sleeping), meal preparation, pool conditions (warmup, warmdown, water temp, air temp, opponent wake, opponent draft), level of competition, and mental fortitude are aspects that combine to be far more important than minor details of the taper. But, it's easier to just say you missed your taper if something bad happens.

In summary, gradually decrease what you do between now and the meet and you will swim awesome. Try not to stress every little thing, although sometimes that is easier said than done :)

Should I ever do a full broken 200fr or 100 fly during taper?Yes, but not the day before. As late as 3-4 days before might be fine.

June 27th, 2011, 04:56 PM
Hey I like this taper thing, today it took me over one and a half hours to swim less than 2000m :D I have spent the rest of the time hanging around with girls and friends :bump:

Thanks for your answer Greg, you have made a few things clearer for me, I'll review my plan according to what you suggested :)

Another question now: does it make any difference if you're used to swimming in the evening and your race is in the morning or viceversa? Oh, and should I swim on the last day of the first meet or may I just sit back and watch my pals race?

June 27th, 2011, 07:30 PM
Most of all ---- have fun !! Yes a taper is less yards/meters at a higher speed with more rest between sets, but it is different for each of us.
You may try 2-3-4 different ways to find out how your body responds.:bolt: OR:cane:
I like the hang out with the girls part !! :chug::cheerleader:

Michael Heather
June 27th, 2011, 07:54 PM
The most important part of the taper is what has not been spoken enough here; rest. If the girls are in your room and you are laying down while talking to them (or whatever you young'uns do), fine. Spend as much time prostrate as possible. It gives your body lots of time to recover, prepare and rebuild. Any time you are on your feet, it is a time of bodily stress. The very best performances are following times when you act like a monk (isolation, lots of quiet preparation and focus on races). Have a blast after the meet. Since you feel nervous, get lots of bed rest, do not go to the weight room, and only do gentle stretching on land. Swim slow, even, perfect stroke warmups. Like Greg said, do broken 200s, but not the day before the meet. Do as many block starts in your taper workouts as possible to perfect your starts. Details are important.

Good luck!

June 27th, 2011, 08:40 PM
If I screw up the second meet I'll have to explain my coach how I have ever come up with this crazy idea of resting, because you know "rest" is a swearword for him.

First of all, it sounds like you have solid training behind you so you are very unlikely to have a bad meet. Your coach though needs some "re-education". Hopefully you will rest well, have a great meet, and show him a thing or two.

June 28th, 2011, 04:40 PM
Today I did my last dryland workout, just some very fast explosive pulling with my stretch cord and that was it, no weights.

As for the swimming part, today I didn't have a good workout, there were a lot of people, got in late and had to rush things. I still managed to do all I wanted to do. My only timed effort was a 125fr at 200 pace, my coach was pretty meh at the splits and I didn't feel very smooth. It seems like the taper sloppiness is hitting! :bump:

Everything is on track. Thank you everybody for your help :)

June 28th, 2011, 08:14 PM
Let us know how you do !: banana: OR :badday:

June 29th, 2011, 01:20 PM
Argh today I couldn't swim, the pool closed early because of a storm :bitching:

What happens if you miss a day during taper?

June 29th, 2011, 04:56 PM
Argh today I couldn't swim, the pool closed early because of a storm :bitching:
What happens if you miss a day during taper?

Don't worry about it, you'll be fine
have fun

June 29th, 2011, 04:57 PM
What happens if you miss a day during taper?

Nothing. Don't worry about it. As Michael said earlier, the important thing is rest. Not swimming usually means resting.

I think a lot of people have a tendency to do too much. Just one more timed swim, just a couple more pace swims...Even if you're not feeling how you'd like to on a given day you shouldn't feel the need to do more.

June 30th, 2011, 11:11 PM
Don't swimmers sometimes have these magical swims after doing absolutely nothing for a couple of weeks?

July 1st, 2011, 10:29 AM
The most important thing you can do in your taper is have confidence. Even with the perfect "physical taper", if you don't have confidence in it, it won't work. The worst thing you can do is spend your two weeks of taper worrying if it is working or not. Just have confidence that you/your coach did the proper research and that the taper you chose will work.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
July 1st, 2011, 11:19 AM
All the best "Race Prep" plans decrease the work and increase racing practice. We prefer not to call this phase "taper" since most masters don't exactly swim enough yardage to justify that label.
Although there are definitely some Forumites who do!

Feeling sluggish in the water is normal. Feeling completely exhausted is not. The idea is practicing pieces of your race and strategies involved.

Regardless of what your race prep plan is in the pool, my advice is to work on your racing spirit and get it happy!
Sulking around the big meet grouchy, way serious, nervous and over-intense will likely kill the good times.
And I mean that in every sense of the word.

Don't worry about weird negative stares from your competitors or other swimmers. Someday - they'll catch on to the fun!

Good luck at the big meet and enjoy yourself!

July 4th, 2011, 04:06 AM
Okay I'm back from the first meet and I've got numbers.

Please note that although I swim 20+ km per week I have been swimming seriously for less than one and a half years so my times suck :bolt:

50fr: 30.98
50fr relay split: 29 high
100fly: 1:17.04
100fr: 1:09.51

I was expecting all of the times to be lower, especially the 100 fly, split it 34.1 42.9 :| and I didn't take it out too hard, the first 50 was very nice and relaxed but by the 35m I knew my legs would die coming back and so it was, I guess I wasn't rested enough yet. Last Monday I went 1:13 in a broken 100 fly, 34 and 39, the piano always seems to fall earlier in actual races for me.

Nothing to say about the 100fr, I just think I need to go faster because it's slow if compared to the 50 time.

Now I'm back to my taper, I still have to find out which events my coach has signed me up for this weekend :bump:

July 4th, 2011, 09:58 AM
Good swims. Now you have some decent seed times as measure.

Like yourself I entered the sport as a non-swimmer, but it took me 24 months to do the LCM 50 in 30 seconds. Nevertheless, at that point in time a year ago (2 yrs exp) to now (3 yrs), no improvement has happened so I'm in a process of fixing that at the moment.


July 6th, 2011, 12:13 PM
My shedule has changed, I'm not swimming the 200 fly at the meet but my coach has signed me up for the 50 fly on the first day, this leaves me without any events to race on the second day. Should I still get in the pool and do a very light 400/600 of ez and drills or just sit back and relax?

Yesterday I swam a 50 fly at 100 race pace and went 33.5 which is .6 faster than the 34.1 split of the 100fly at the first meet :applaud: Consider that our LCM pool doesn't have blocks so I had to dive in from the wall with a crappy grab start and my stroke didn't feel very smooth, it was a pretty solid swim. It should be even better this weekend especially if I decide to shave and to wear a jammer. Things are looking bright right now :)