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Thread: Taper?

  1. #1
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    Taper?

    I am an unaffiliated masters swimmer who does 3-4 meets a year and self-trains at my local Y. Lately, I've only been doing about 1500, 3-4 times a week, but mostly race-paced training (something like 300 moderate warmup, 200 kick on back with fins, Main Set (all at about 85-90%): 3 100s, 6 50s, 12 25s, all at about 90-100%, 150-200 cool down.

    I have a meet Sunday. I swam yesterday. Last time I had a meet, I did 2700 the day before and was sore and all around pretty zonked and did crappy times. I am also 60 years old. Any recommendations for what I should be doing today and tomorrow (Fri/Sat) before the meet?

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Taper?

    Quote Originally Posted by biestieboy58 View Post
    Any recommendations for what I should be doing today and tomorrow (Fri/Sat) before the meet?
    That depends. Are you looking to be fully rested for the meet? Normally a taper is something drawn out over several weeks, progressively resting AND fine tuning speed in preparation for the big meet. You can also "drop taper," which can mean different things for different people, but for me means taking a heavy training schedule and stopping it 5-7 days out to rest and work on fine tuning speed (back to that normal taper thing!).

    If you are just looking to be better rested for this meet, going super light one day and then skipping the other could help. I am swimming in a USA-S meet this weekend. I did lots of yardage and some high intensity stuff on Monday and Wednesday, so yesterday I did only 1500 meters of easy swimming and drilling (a 60-70% decrease in my normal yardage), and I skipped doing a morning swim today in preparation for my first events tonight.

    Given your age, and how you say you are training, and how the last time you felt gassed for the meet, I would suggest a VERY SHORT swim on one day and skipping a swim on the other. Which day you choose to swim is up to you, although for me, I prefer not to skip a full day, the day before a meet. I prefer to touch the water the day before a meet starts.

  3. #3
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    Re: Taper?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    That depends. Are you looking to be fully rested for the meet? Normally a taper is something drawn out over several weeks, progressively resting AND fine tuning speed in preparation for the big meet. You can also "drop taper," which can mean different things for different people, but for me means taking a heavy training schedule and stopping it 5-7 days out to rest and work on fine tuning speed (back to that normal taper thing!).

    If you are just looking to be better rested for this meet, going super light one day and then skipping the other could help. I am swimming in a USA-S meet this weekend. I did lots of yardage and some high intensity stuff on Monday and Wednesday, so yesterday I did only 1500 meters of easy swimming and drilling (a 60-70% decrease in my normal yardage), and I skipped doing a morning swim today in preparation for my first events tonight.

    Given your age, and how you say you are training, and how the last time you felt gassed for the meet, I would suggest a VERY SHORT swim on one day and skipping a swim on the other. Which day you choose to swim is up to you, although for me, I prefer not to skip a full day, the day before a meet. I prefer to touch the water the day before a meet starts.
    I just want to say that I am paying great attention to this topic, and I really appreciate you thoughtful and detailed response, Calvin S. Thanks.
    M-50m, T-200m, W-800m, T-25m, F-100m, S-400m, S-1600m.

    My main swimming goal: Sub6min 400m FS/SC by April 2020.

  4. #4
    Very Active Member swimark's Avatar
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    Re: Taper?

    I couldn't agree more with with Calvin's response. In your situation an easy swim one day and off the next (or vice versa) appears to be sounds advise.

    Generally drop tapers work best for me. The week before a meet I just ramp down the yardage and intensity. But found if I take it too easy I feel out of shape for the meet.

    I too am doing a meet this Sunday. Your location is listed as Brooklyn, any chance you are doing a meet in Jersey? If so, see you there.

  5. #5
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Taper?

    Want to point out something I always tried to explain to my high school boys and college girls that I coached: There is a 5 letter "T" word that is far more important than "taper" when you get into championship meet season, and that is "trust." Whether you have a coach on deck tapering you, or you are doing it yourself, you need to trust: that what you are doing will work and that you will be ready to swim fast when it is time to swim fast.

    Don't get sidetracked mentally (or physically) by the pre-taper or early-taper "blues." Honestly, despite heavy training, some of the worst times I have ever felt is in the first 4-7 days of a taper. It is imperative that you stay the course and not get too bummed out by it.

    Anecdotally, the scary thing is that you can feel like garbage still as you walk up to the blocks for your race(s). Former breaststroker here, and breaststroke is a tough stroke to taper for. I would spend a week of taper (the "blues") with it feeling like absolute crap. Then a week where I felt like I was learning to swim fast breaststroke all over again. Then I would be off to my meet, shave, and have all my timing and cadence thrown off because my stroke count would drop by 1-2 strokes per 25 yards (depending upon the event). I would step up on the blocks not having had a single 25 yards of breaststroke that I could say felt "great" AND "fast". But as soon as I dove in and started my first pull down, it was on. Just had to trust that no matter how crappy I felt along the way, when it was "go time," I was going to be ready to go!

  6. #6
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    Re: Taper?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    Want to point out something I always tried to explain to my high school boys and college girls that I coached: There is a 5 letter "T" word that is far more important than "taper" when you get into championship meet season, and that is "trust." Whether you have a coach on deck tapering you, or you are doing it yourself, you need to trust: that what you are doing will work and that you will be ready to swim fast when it is time to swim fast.

    Don't get sidetracked mentally (or physically) by the pre-taper or early-taper "blues." Honestly, despite heavy training, some of the worst times I have ever felt is in the first 4-7 days of a taper. It is imperative that you stay the course and not get too bummed out by it.

    Anecdotally, the scary thing is that you can feel like garbage still as you walk up to the blocks for your race(s). Former breaststroker here, and breaststroke is a tough stroke to taper for. I would spend a week of taper (the "blues") with it feeling like absolute crap. Then a week where I felt like I was learning to swim fast breaststroke all over again. Then I would be off to my meet, shave, and have all my timing and cadence thrown off because my stroke count would drop by 1-2 strokes per 25 yards (depending upon the event). I would step up on the blocks not having had a single 25 yards of breaststroke that I could say felt "great" AND "fast". But as soon as I dove in and started my first pull down, it was on. Just had to trust that no matter how crappy I felt along the way, when it was "go time," I was going to be ready to go!
    All of this. 100%. TRUST is key to a successful taper.

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