Part three of a three part series on training to prepare for the Triple Bypass or any other summer riding event.
The last segment of Periodized training to discuss is the taper. This phase is simple, but very important for realization of the goal designed in a training plan. Traditionally when training for an endurance-specific event like the 2009 Triple Bypass, a cyclist will need to go through several phases of training over the months leading up to the event. The physical demand and mental preparation it takes to complete 120 miles over three mountain passes is such that attention paid to planning out details and performing certain types of workouts will allow for an enjoyable day in the saddle amongst friends. Preparation and base training were discussed in the March Bike Beat; the next phase of training to promote a stimulus to advance fitness is the build phases, which were discussed in the April Bike Beat.
The Taper phase consists of the training that is done in the couple of weeks before the event. In this period the training duration is slowly decreased to allow for more rest/recovery and intensity is increased slightly above the work load performed in the build phase. The theory behind this stage of adaptation is to further the upper portions of one’s cycling ability. The adaptations that come into play when training is done at high intensity (greater than 90% of max heart rate) are best realized once more recovery from these types of bouts is completed. So, the Taper phase will consist of shorter recovery rides intertwined with high intensity short duration workouts. The number of weeks for the Taper depends on the cyclist and type of event. Usually for a century type of event, 2 weeks would be the needed amount of time to be rested and ready to ride.
1. Taper phase recovery workout (2 to 3 a week)
- Attempt to use only easier gears of the bike
- Up to an hour, following a high intensity workout day
- Add in some drills of high cadence spinning
2. Taper phase high intensity workout (2 to 3 a week)
- Attempt to use all gears of the bike
- Up to an hour and a half, following a rest day or recovery workout
- Work in upper heart rate ranges (above 90% of max)
- Add in some high intensity efforts on the extended climbs
Using the Taper phase to conclude your training for the Triple Bypass or other summer cycling events will help you transition into the larger efforts combined with the added recovery needed to create success in your training. This can lead to a fun summer of views from your bike and the added adaptations of improved fitness.