Tapering is a great experience but only a
tool to enhance optimum performance. Swimmers must take into consideration
all the factors that will be mentioned in this article. Tapering
isn’t the magic pill to faster swimming but one of the factors
to faster swimming.
Once you have established your aerobic capacity and finished your
maximum yardage phase of training you must trust that you have done
enough. Lower your yardage and begin the taper phase that develops
power and speed as outlined in the 7 week taper program.
I understand the fear of not lowering your yardage but trust
me you can and it works. You can rest a lot longer than you think
as long as you stick to the program. You will continue to keep your
heart rate elevated during taper which maintains your aerobic capacity.
You will have more energy as the taper progresses. Remember that
during a taper you must maintain quality swimming at race pace with
enough recovery swimming. Tapering doesn’t mean easy swimming
but quite the opposite as you are fine tuning speed and power.
You must believe and not doubt your ability since you are practicing
at race pace. Your body is developing muscle memory at your desired
speed. You are doing the work so have confidence and get ready to
Lifting during taper is essential to maintaining speed and power
as outlined in the 7 week taper program.
Try not to get bent out of shape about how you feel each day of
the taper. Your body is recovering from previous hard training and
trying to retrain your fast twitch muscle group. The fast twitch
muscles take more energy and you will feel pain, so recovery is
essential during each practice.
Nutrition, hydration and sleep are as important as your training
and can affect your swimming greatly. Doing one of the above incorrectly
can ruin performance immediately. You can find optimal nutrition
and hydration products by clicking on the Nutrition link.
Please pick your events wisely at Championships to ensure proper
warm-up, warm-down and recovery between events and days at the meet.
Know your race strategy and be able to adjust as needed. Understand
how breathing during the race will benefit you or adversely affect
your performance. This concept is extremely important!
When you arrive at your hotel is also important. Plan ahead and
give yourself enough time to check-in, eat and shave for the meet.
Plan for something to go wrong and maybe pack your suit and goggles
in your carry-on bag, if you are flying.