Tapering for a race or event is something your cycle coach can help explain and prepare you for but here is a closer look at what it is and why it is important.

What is tapering?

Tapering is essentially the reduction of training for a short period of time as you draw closer to a competitive event. It is something that is done in several sporting events including marathon running, and triathlons as well as cycling events. The idea is that it gives your body a period of recovery so that you are at your best for the event. Just as you would prepare your bike correctly with a road bike fitting you also prepare your own body.

How to taper for a race

When you have an experienced and skilled cycle coach they will already have ensured your training program allows for the proper recovery before the main event. If it is not already planned in then you should rethink your training so that you have seven to ten days before the event where your training is tapered. Training involves pushing your body and it is stressful and causes fatigue. This affects your performance. When you are not racing you can put in recovery days and push yourself to achieve your training goals.

No matter what your skill and conditioning are when you have just a week to go before the event that is what you are now working with. No workout for a week is going to have a dramatic impact on boosting your endurance, skill or speed. So this is the time to reduce your workload and work with the fitness you have.

A week before the event

Tapering is not about just sleeping and eating and chilling in front of the TV! You will still have some workouts to do and a mix of intensity is a good idea to keep your body primed. Your cycle coach can create a tapered exercise routine for you. It means cutting back the times and the distances, doing 60-minute rides instead of 90 minutes and so on. Trust your fitness is where you need it. Have some confidence in the training process. You will gain more from the recovery and rest than you would gain from continued training. In fact, it has been found that it takes at least six weeks to see adaption to training so even three weeks before is not going to impact your fitness before the event.


Tapering is an essential process. Just as you make sure you have a good bike, have road bike fitting, get a good coach with the best training plans, so you should include tapering into your preparation for a race or event. In some athletic studies, some performers can see up to a 3% improvement in their event performance, just because they have properly tapered beforehand. So if you do not taper usually, perhaps now is the time to take a closer look at how it can help you achieve peak condition ready for your race.

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