Tapering with Peter

One week to World Champs (by Peter)

It’s now just one week until the first race at WOC, the Sprint Qualifier, and all the athletes will be in their ‘taper phase’ of training. This is really just a fancy name for reducing our training and resting up, but it’s a period which, for some of us, can feel quite uncomfortable. We’re familiar with doing hard training weeks, but less experienced when it comes to planning to do not very much!

Tapering: harder than it looks

I still feel like I’m learning more about how best to taper and prepare in the final weeks before big races, but here are some of the things I’m doing this year.

The volume of my training is reduced, but the intensity (effort or speed) of my hard sessions should stay the same. This last week, I ran about 30 miles less than normal, but have kept my normal two track interval sessions in there albeit with fewer repetitions. Now isn’t the time to try and break any records in training, and I don’t want to increase any chance of injury. At the same time, my body sometimes reacts strangely to too large a drop in training volume, so it’s best to keep the same routine with things feeling relatively normal.

Sleeping lots and staying healthy. This is probably the single most important thing we can do. The training is all in the bank but if we get ill now it’s pretty much game over, so it’s on with the eyemask, in with the vitamins, paranoid hand-washing and living like a hermit.

Geeking out. Especially in the sprint events, being well-prepared for what’s coming up can save a few crucial seconds come race day. The Sprint Final is in the centre of the city of Tartu. Although the area is embargoed, there are still old maps, photos, satellite images and Google streetview to look at. By planning possible routechoices, looking at the feasible course layouts based on the event information and even just spending time virtually ‘walking’ around the area, it’s possible to become quite familiar with a new area from home. This can shave some time off your decision-making on the day, and reduce the likelihood of making a mistake. I won’t lie, this is incredibly boring (and especially painful when the British summer arrives outside) and isn’t what I imagined when I dreamt as a junior of running WOC, but there’s no denying it works.

Giving each other terrible haircuts. A team ritual and an ideal procrastination activity from geeking.

Getting itchy feet. When running and racing are your main hobbies and you suddenly can’t do them, you find yourself bursting with energy and dying to run fast. Personally, I find this frustration to be a really good thing. I’ll arrive on the day feeling fresh, starved of competition and super excited to get out there and give everything. While it’s easy to put artificial pressure on myself or feel nervous, when the clock beeps it’s simple - it’s an orienteering course like hundreds I’ve done before. This is what I love to do and I’m good at it. I can’t wait!

Team GB: A story of Success and bad hair 


Popular posts from this blog


The Weekend of Sprints

World Cup Latvia Preview