If you are a cyclist who wants to perform at your best for a specific event, one of the most important aspects of your training plan is the peak or taper phase or the final stage before your big day. But what exactly is the peak or taper phase, and how can you do it right?
The peak or taper phase is when you reduce your training volume while maintaining your intensity to shed fatigue and reach your optimal fitness level for your event. The goal is to strike a balance between fitness, fatigue, and form to be as fit as possible and not too tired to perform at your best.
The peak or taper phase usually lasts 4 to 28 days, depending on age, fitness level, and event type. Generally, most cyclists benefit from a two-week taper, but younger athletes may need less time, while older athletes may need more time.
During the peak or taper phase, you should not stop training but cut down on the duration and frequency of your workouts and keep doing a few high-intensity short workouts specific to your event. This will help you keep your energy systems sharp and ready for the demands of your race.
The benefits of doing a proper peak or taper phase are:
Feel fresh and motivated on race day.
Be able to produce more power and sustain it longer.
Have more 'matches' to respond to attacks, climbs, or sprints.
Improve your performance by about 1%-3% on average.
To plan your peak or taper phase, you can follow these general guidelines:
Reduce your training volume by 60-90% each week leading up to your event.
Maintain your training intensity at >80% of your normal level.
Maintain your training frequency at >80% of your normal level.
Individualize your taper duration based on your experience and goals.
Use progressive, nonlinear tapering designs, such as reducing volume more in the first week than in the second week.
You can also use a ready-made training plan that includes a peak or taper phase designed for your specific cycling discipline. For example, RIDEANDRACE offers a variety of pre-built training plans that include tapers for different types of events, such as climbing road races, criteriums, xc marathon, cyclo-cross, time trials, or gravel races.
The peak or taper phase is a crucial part of your cycling training plan that can make or break your performance on race day. Following some simple principles and using reliable resources, you can optimize your peak or taper phase and achieve your best form when it matters most.
That is it, thank you for reading, I hope you found it to be a useful resource.
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