Wondering how to taper for an Ironman triathlon?
You might have been training for an Ironman triathlon for months. Now with only weeks to go before your Ironman event you might be feeling the pressure.
The pre-race nerves. The sponsorship money to raise. And of course wondering what last bit of training should you do?
Last weekend, with 4 weeks to go before Ironman Wales I went to Pembrokeshire to ride the Ironman Wales course with Sonia Povey who is competing.
She is raising money for the RNLI so the pressure is on to finish. She is feeling a little concerned about the event, so it was a good idea to have a look at the venue and actually test it out.
115 miles later she’d done her last long bike of the training program and now for one more long run next week before the taper.
How To Taper For An Ironman Triathlon
According to Noaks and others, it is recommended to taper exponentially in volume, and that the fitter the athlete (experienced) the longer the taper needs to be.
It has been shown that 3-4 weeks is an effective taper duration, and don’t worry if you feel like your endurance will disappear – it takes weeks for endurance to vanish.
On the other hand, speed, and your ability to maintain high effort for prolonged periods does drop off fast. So in your taper it is best to keep the volume low and intensity high.
Consider it to be sharpening the blade. If you can maintain a top speed that is high, your cruising speed or Ironman pace will feel easy but be high (er) too.
Sonia did her last long run (and longest run of her training plan) yesterday, with 20 miles in the bank, in 2h30mins! And now she can relax and taper for the next couple of weeks.
This morning she did a 30min interval session, maintaining top end speed but keeping the volume low.
In this low volume period you should use your time to plan your nutrition and race execution as well as ensuring all your kit is well maintained and ready to race in. Whatever you do do, don’t introduce something new on race day, or even race week!
So now you know how to taper for an Ironman triathlon. I hope this helps and if you are racing in Ironman Wales, have a fantastic race! Happy training, Nico.