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Thread: How do I taper, now that I'm old?

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    How do I taper, now that I'm old?

    My first taper as a masters swimmer will be for Nationals. In my youth, I always had huge drops after tapering for a big meet, but that was 25 years ago and frankly, I can't remember how it was done. In addition, those tapers were after 70,000 yards/week. Now I'm only doing 20-25,000 yards/week.

    Any suggestions?

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: How do I taper, now that I'm old?

    Don't think about it as you're "only" doing 20-25K per week. Your body is still plenty fatigued and you will benefit greatly from a taper. I'd suggest a bare minimum of one week, and probably two would be best. My general plan lately has been to drop total yardage by 25% the first week and another 25% the second week with a lot of that yardage being easy, recovery swimming. Work in some speed and pace swimming, but don't overdo it. The last couple days before the meet should be more or less a meet warmup. Don't be afraid to rest!

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    Very Active Member jim clemmons's Avatar
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    Re: How do I taper, now that I'm old?

    Kirk's pretty right on with that. The only thing I'd add, is that as you get older, I think you need more rest time, i.e., three weeks as you approach and then (in theory) exceed 50yo.
    Jim

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    Very Active Member ourswimmer's Avatar
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    Re: How do I taper, now that I'm old?

    Also, don't forget that "rest" applies to whatever cross-training you do. If you supplement those 20-25K per week with running, lifting, cycling, or salsa dancing you need to lay off those activities also.

    I think in general bigger muscles need more rest. So you especially need to rest from leg-intensive activities, whereas you probably should not rest at all from rotator-cuff exercises if you do them.

    Do some browsing and you will find lots of discussion of this topic on this forum, and also on people's blogs in that section of the site.

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    Re: How do I taper, now that I'm old?

    Keith

    I agree with Kirk and Jim. Don't be afraid to rest! I do half the yardage you do, while doing lots of weights and dryland. I stop lifting three weeks out and reduce the sprinting, while only cutting total yardage by about 25%. I have felt good my last few taper meets - certainly not like I'd cut back too much and gotten out of shape. Starting at 20-25k yards per week, you have lots of room to seriously reduce yardage while staying in good shape. If you are a sprinter, you might want to reduce the yardage even more. If you are more mid-distance / distance, then I'd go with Kirk's plan.

    Craig

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    Re: How do I taper, now that I'm old?

    I agree with Craig and Kirk. I taper for a couple weeks. My typical weekly training yardage is between 12 and 15k. During taper I do about 8k weekly and I don't phase into it like Kirk, but everyone knows what works for them. I think I need the taper at least as much as I did when I was younger even though the yardage isn't anything close. I try to get a bit more sleep as well. Have a great taper.

    Tim

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    Re: How do I taper, now that I'm old?

    Thanks for the input. I'm purely a distance guy and quite concerned about resting too much and losing what conditioning I do have. However, I already discovered my body needs more rest than it used to. After some hard double days, I tried backing off for 2 days before a meet in March. Didn't work. my 500 was substantially slower than back in November and still felt quite tired. Two weeks later, at the end of practice, we did a 500 for time and I was faster than at the last meet.

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    Re: How do I taper, now that I'm old?

    I think Kirk's plan is probably the best for you. I would say it would be very difficult for you to lose your fitness with Kirk's plan and it should allow you enough rest.

    Tim

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: How do I taper, now that I'm old?

    Since you are a distance swimmer Kirk's plan should work well.A spriter would do better with more rest-at least a 3 wk taper.For the first 2 weeks of my taper I don't decrease yardage,I just increase the recovery swim to race pace ratio.I find as I get older(60) I need more warm up/cool down.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Re: How do I taper, now that I'm old?

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    Since you are a distance swimmer Kirk's plan should work well.A spriter would do better with more rest-at least a 3 wk taper.For the first 2 weeks of my taper I don't decrease yardage,I just increase the recovery swim to race pace ratio.I find as I get older(60) I need more warm up/cool down.
    I've noticed needing more warm up even during practice. I hadn't thought about needing more cool down, but that's a great tip especially since I'm entered in both events on day 1.

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