Ride the RideauTM

September 6, 2014

Training & Nutrition

Dr. Adrian Wong's – Training Tips

By day, Dr. Adrian Wong is a researcher in Dr. Richard Bergeron's lab at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute investigating mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders. Away from the lab he is a long-time member and coach at the Ottawa Triathlon Club, helping others to reach their full potential. Check out Dr. Wong's Weekly Training Tips every week in our Ride the Rideau Weekly News.


Training Tip of the Week

One of the most blessed words in the training lexicon is "taper." What is a taper? In technical terms, it is "taking it easy." With 10 days to go before the event you should be starting to do this, which is why this tip is here.

What a taper really means is a decrease in training load so that you can be rested for the event. During the course of your regular training, you are forcing your body to make gradual adaptations (i.e. fitness) so that you can easily ride the distance you have set out to ride. However, along with those adaptations come fatigue, and unfortunately, fitness and fatigue go hand in hand.

Generally though, it takes about 3 weeks to see adaptations (increased fitness), so the workouts that you did about 2 weeks ago will lead to an increased fitness at the time of the ride. So really, the only purpose of the taper is to unload the fatigue element so that the fitness element becomes more pronounced. Yes, you will lose a bit of "potential" fitness, but that will only show a couple of weeks after the ride, when all you should be doing is taking a well-deserved break!

That said, taper time is not an excuse to sit around for 10 days. Stick to your regular riding schedule (because you have also adapted to getting on your bike 3 to 5 times per week) but cut the duration in half. What I like to do in a taper period is have short intervals where you just go really, really fast. Yes, this is because I like to go fast, but it also helps keep your legs sharp in the interim. Also, be aware that during taper time you'll start to get weird cold and flu-like symptoms. You'll also stress about not having done enough riding. Provided you've done the work, this is perfectly normal and is nothing to worry about; it's your head messing with you.

If you haven't done the work by this time, then the "stable door…horse bolted" analogy is very appropriate here.

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Geordie McConnell's - Training and Nutrition Guidelines

Geordie is a NCCP certified Level One Triathlon Coach and has introduced hundreds to the sport of triathlon over the last 13 years. He prides himself on the ability to take the most advanced of triathlon science and make it work for athletes of every level. Check out Geordie's general guidelines on Training and Nutrition as you prepare for the ride of your life to save someone else's.