Your Optimal Taper Week

By LifeSport Coach Louis Therien

As you get closer to your goal race, you have the hard evidence of your work in the completed weeks and months of hard training. This fitness is now in the bank. You’ve followed your training schedules religiously. Your fitness is at an all-time high. You’re ready to toe the line for your next race of the season, but you still have to let your body rest up for a big effort.

The lower volume peaking days before a race is usually referred to as the “Taper Period”. This can be as long as two weeks for Ironman and as little as 3-4 days for less important or shorter races. This taper period is critical to allow your body and mind to rest and be fully energized for the big day. The goal of the taper is to allow you to optimize your preparation, not gain additional fitness. Understanding this goal can make those antsy days pre-race a little easier to bear. During this time, training volume should be reduced significantly, by up to 50% depending on the race goal; however, continuing your regular training schedule and incorporating short race pace specific sets will allow you to maintain the endurance you developed during the initial preparation stage and to bring your dialed in race pace to the start line! Try these 3 race prep session 2-4 days prior your next race to keep the system firing on all cylinders! Concentrate on race visualization and feel throughout the sessions, bringing in the mindset and flow you want to attain on race day.

KEY (Rests (R), minutes (‘), seconds (”), Warmup (WU), Cool down (CD), Main Set (MS), Race Pace (RP))

Swim (Olympic or Half Iron)


2 x 200 (swim) R: 20’’

4 x 100 (50 drills / 50 free) R: 15’’ Drill: Scull in front, Fist only

8 x 25 (1 fast / 1 easy) R: 10’’


3 x 200 (RP) R: 30’’

8 x 100 (2 RP / 1 easy) R: 15’’

R; 1’

200 RP


4 x 50 easy choice R: 10’’   0



WU: 20’ easy pace, including 4X100m accelerations R: 1’

MS: 5 x 2’ (repeats 1-3-5 race pace / 2-4 slightly faster than race pace (5 or 10k pace) R: 2’ between

CD: easily 15’



WU: 20-30’ building up to just below RP. Include 3X1’ RP effort / R: 1’

MS Pyramid: 4 min at RP, 3 min at RP, 2 min at RP, 1 min at RP, R:2’ between

CD: 20’ easy

LifeSport coach Louis Therien resides in the Ontario/Quebec area. He enjoys coaching all levels of triathletes from the first timer to the more experienced Ironman.  If you’re looking for that extra edge to meet and surpass your athletic goals, contact Louis and LifeSport.