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Old 11-15-12, 01:45 PM
mathking mathking is offline
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As others have said, whether and how to taper is largely a question of how you have trained. For most kids, we drop their mileage about 16%. This happens two weeks out from the meet for which we are trying to peak. (Note that this is different for different athletes. This season we had about 55 peaking for the conference or district meet, 7 peaking for the regional meet and one peaking for the state meet.) In those last two weeks we generally don't do max VO2 work except for the races. We will do tempo/threshold training (usually cruise interval 1600s or 1000s) one day with a few shorter, faster intervals (150s - 200s generally, at faster than race pace) after. For the couple weeks before taper we did a Tuesday race pace (VO2) workout and a Wednesday tempo/threshold run. Before that we had a couple weeks of Tue - Thu race pace work. (Mixed in their is a week with no meet for the top kids, in which we have a tempo run on Saturday.) One thing we have noted over the past 3 years is that we have tended to be a little flat after the first week of tapering. Then we have generally had pretty good race results the second week.

How we train is a constantly evolving process. So how we taper now is different than a dozen years ago. And not every kid trains or tapers in the same way.A whizzel said, some kids respond differently. A few years ago we had a kid who had a disappointing state meet after an excellent senior CC season. It was the second time he had been flat at the end of a season. So in track season we didn't stop doing max VO2 work with him. We cut the volume of it a bit, but he basically just kept training through the state meet. And he ended up getting a big PR at the regional race in the 3200 and having a great state meet with a podium spot. This falls under the pay attention to everyone maxim. If what you generally do (because it seems to yield the best results for the most kids) doesn't work for a particular kid, try something else. (To be fair, I have also made changes that didn't yield better results too.)

If you really want to learn about the physiology of tapering, read some books or articles by swimming coaches. Lots of good literature out there.
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