View Full Version : Tapering?

January 28th, 2008, 05:03 PM
What is it? And how does one do it?


January 28th, 2008, 07:17 PM
In general, it is reducing your workload and doing more race pace work. But it varies from person to person. Some hate to reduce anything for fear they will get "out of shape." Sure that some of the experts will chime in. For a small meet, I will just take a few days off with maybe a few slow swims to keep loose. Haven't swum a nationals for a long time, so haven't done any multi week tapers in years.

Allen Stark
January 28th, 2008, 08:09 PM
The best taper is as individualized as a fingerprint.It depends on what events you are aiming for.As a rule sprinters and breaststrokers need a longer taper.Also men generally need to taper longer than women.I taper for LCM Nats and at least one SCM meet per year.It is generally said you can only really taper 2-3 times a year(some say only once per year) The only change I make for "minor" meets is I don't lift weights the day before. A full taper for me takes 3 wk.I decrease the weight on my lifting for 1 1/2 wk and then stop 10 days before the meet.In workout I keep my distance the same for 2 wk but halve the # of race pace swims and make up the difference in cool down between race pace swims.(I am doing all race pace or cool down for the 12 wk prior to the taper,instead of doing race pace only near and in the taper.) Then the last week I cut the workouts in half and eliminate kicking sets(I find my legs need more rest than my arms and as a breaststroker my legs are getting plenty of toning with full stroke.)

January 28th, 2008, 08:42 PM
to me tapering is the the time to
reduce yardage
increase quality
decrease quantity
sharpen racing skills
get stronger
get faster and

you have to experiement to figure out what works best for you

follow my 2007 SCM season starting Sept 1, 2007
my taper for that season started
Saturday, November 3, 2007
for the meet that started Dec 1st, 2007

the way you taper depends on
the training you did that season and
what works best for you

some people believe you can hit or miss your taper
I believe you can arrive at your peak taper conditioning then maintain it

study that season
then make your plan of action

your taper depends on the competitions you're preparing for

Here's my plan this season is
I'm competeting on / in / events
1) March 6 - 8 LCM Human Performance Labs All-American Long Course Championships
events 50 fr 100 fr 100fl 100 bk 200 bk

2) 3/28/2008 - 3/30/2008 SCY South Central Zone SCY Championships - San Antonio, TX (i'll swim events here that I'm not going to swim at Nats)

3) USMS 2008 SCY Nats
day 2 50 Fly 50 fr
day 3 100 IM 100 bk
day 4 100 fl 100 fr

I'm going to train fairly hard till from now to
Feb 21 then rest 2 weeks for for the All AM LC Ch
then focus on speed and strength for zones
then focus continue to focus on speed and strength in April and taper 2 or 3 weeks for Nats

January 29th, 2008, 10:45 AM
If you've been training hard and consistently all season I'd plan on doing at least a two week taper for whatever you've decided your "taper meet" will be. The taper should be gradual. Just start gradually dropping the yardage, and as Ande said, start adding in more quality swimming and plenty of rest. The final maybe 2-3 days before your meet your workouts should be almost the same as what you'd do as your pre-race warmup.

By the time your taper starts you should have the aerobic base you need. Now you just need to swim enough so you don't lose that base, but at the same time you are resting your body and getting it prepared to swim fast. My feeling is a lot of people get antsy during a taper and end up working too hard. Tapering can be stressful. You don't always feel like you are swimming fast in the middle of the taper. You just need to trust it and know that when the meet comes around you'll be ready.

January 29th, 2008, 03:12 PM
Here's how I look at tapering....The main aspects of the normal training cycles include

- Frequency - how often you train
- Duration - how long you train, or your yardage
- Intensity - the level of effort you train

"They" (whom ever they are, but I've seen some research on this) have found that slowly dropping the frequency and duration over 1 - 3 weeks while maintaining the intensity, or slightly increasing intensity to more closely reflect race conditions, seem to have the best results for tapering. For me, as middle distance oriented freestyler, who swims 5 - 6 days a week, I tend to keep my practice schedule during a taper, since I like to try to keep a feel for the water. But I'll slowly cut my yardage and time in the water down to about 1/2 by the end of the taper, and I'll 1 - 3 or so quality/pace sets, and give my self some extra focus on techniques, turns, and the like. And try to eat better (but not too much, avoid gaining weight...), get some extra rest, cut down or eliminate the weights (again, over some time), but keep up the stretching,... and hopefully not get sick. But don't be surprised if you don't feel great in the water... it happens to me most of the time somewhere along the way. I also find it hard to hit my goal race times on the quality sets during the taper, but I usually swim faster at the meet. I usually have a good drop from a taper vs. in season competitions. I was that way in HS and College, and still that way 30 years (ugh!) later with a 20 year rest in between... and had some of my best swims when I was a couple weeks later after my taper (but not always, so it is a bit of a guess)... so don't be afraid to rest.

January 29th, 2008, 03:17 PM
I have never tapered. I was talking to an Olympic swimmer yesterday that knew me. She said "George your whole swimming career was a taper."

January 30th, 2008, 12:40 AM
I tend to keep my practice schedule during a taper, since I like to try to keep a feel for the water. But I'll slowly cut my yardage and time in the water down to about 1/2 by the end of the taper

I agree. I try to swim my normal number of sessions, but cut way down on the yardage. I don't think it's a good idea to stay out of the water totally. Mentally I think I at least need to "get in and splash around" to keep my sanity during the final part of the taper.

January 30th, 2008, 03:05 PM
Some great points here. So for those of us who do other activites in addition to swimming, how do you suggest (or do you suggest) changing those during a swimming taper?

I generally run 20-25 miles/week, over 3-4 sessions. Yes, I do feel it the next day when I'm swimming, especially if there is a sprint or kick set. I won't stop running entirely, but should this also get cut in half? More intensity, less distance?

I also lift weights 2-3 times/week...I don't kill myself with these sessions, do a variety of mostly upper body stuff (chest, arms, back). Do you stop lifting, cut down the weight/reps? I also do 3-4 workouts on my abs a week, either after running or lifting...these are 5 to 30 min of intense workouts, should I alter this? I definitely feel this when swimming, especially if we do a strong kick set.

I'm also curious if I should adjust my swimming and weights prior to a running race. Haven't done anything like that since I was in the Army....and back then we simply trained all the time, even day before a PT test, no such thing as an easy day. I'm thinking of doing a 1/2 marathon in early March.