Beginning tri training, week 19: 'Hitting the taper' right

Credit: Robert LaBerge/Allsport
You are ready to race. The only thing you lack is a taper, and what I mean by that is you want to enter the race nice and rested. You'll need to take a few days easy, and by "easy" I mean that you'll have a week not unlike the "rest" week you had back in Week 15. The thing here is to make sure you not only keep your mileage down, but that you keep the effort level down as well. No high heart rate stuff.

This schedule assumes you are racing at the end of the 21st week, which means just a little less than three weeks from now. But, frankly, you're ready to go now. So, what you'll do this week depends on your race schedule. If your race is this weekend, a pair, maybe three, easy run sessions prior to the race will be plenty. One or two easy rides is enough, and two or three easy swims.

If your race is next weekend, then we'll make this a week of balanced, but not overly hard, training, with your taper week next week. Let's go back to Week 14 -- when you learned about bricks -- and repeat that week. But nothing at a high effort level.

If your race is indeed after Week 21, then let's take a rest week this week -- e.g., Week 15 -- then repeat Week 14, the brick week -- and then head into your taper for the final week.


You've done the work. Now you'll start to realize what serious triathletes -- and, really, serious athletes in all high levels of endurance sport know -- that the hard part isn't getting to the finish line in one piece, it's getting to the start line in one piece.

"Hitting the taper," and reaching the start fresh, healthy, uninjured, fit, sharp and yet rested is a special art the highest paid and most talented athletes haven't yet figured out with precision. They struggle with how to reproduce those times in which they've hit their training and their tapers perfectly.


Now it's the waiting game. Remember, if you're racing this weekend and you're repeating Week 15, the week's activity includes the race. So it's not the week's mileage PLUS the race, but total mileage, taper, race and all.

  • Swimming: Repeat Week 15 (rest week)
  • Cycling: Repeat Week 14 (brick week)
  • Running: Repeat Week 15 (rest week)
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