Competition Knowledge Base

Peaking and Tapering

Optimum preparation for a competition is an art. Here are the basics.

Long Run1. Peaking – a strategy for reaching your top performance

To get top performance it is necessary to prepare especially for the highs of your season. 2PEAK divides the season into various periods. The foundation is formed in the Basic Training periods. these are followed by the Preparation periods and finally the Competition period(s). As the competition draws closer, the training becomes more specific and intense.

This form buildup to the competition we call “peaking”. The aim is to be in top form for day X. 2PEAK ensures that this intensifying of the training is based on what has gone before and takes the athlete’s individual regeneration capability into account. Following the unusual training stimulation in the last hard training phase, there must be a supercompensation – ie. a recovery phase. This is known as tapering and is an equally important part of peaking.

2. Tapering – deliberate recovery just before the competition

Endurance Training Triathlon

By “tapering” we mean a relief phase just before the main event, to make sure that you are well recovered and feeling strong ready for the competition. The trick is to get the timing right. You can taper too much or too little.

According to the present practice, a marked reduction of 40 – 50% in volume is correct. The training intensity is kept high, however. There are race tempo intervals to prevent the body going into full recovery mode. It depends on the length and difficulty of the competition, how long the tapering lasts. Before a long hard event such as an iron man, the tapering typically lasts for two weeks, before a 10km run, only a few days.

How much the volume is reduced depends an the volume of the normal training which has been done. If you train 4 hours a week, you don’t need the same recovery as a long distance triathlete, training 25 hours or more per week. 2PEAK automatically adapts the tapering phase to the event and training.

Tips for Tapering

To succeed in a competition, a long term build up in training is required. Shortly before an event, not much more can be gained – but fatal mistakes can be made.
1. Don’t make any experiments just before (or during) an event.
2. Remain calm and collected. Remember that long term training brings results.
3. Don’t try to make good any training deficit shortly before an event.

Tips for nutrition before competition

Peaking for a triathlon main event

Peaking for ironman event
The illustration shows the preparation for an iron man event. You can see clearly the recovery caused by the reduction in the training volume in the last two weeks.

Peaking for a cycling stage race

Peaking for Stage Races
This illustration shows peaking for a cycling stage race – as a season’s main aim. There is a short stage race in the middle of May, which falls within the intensive phase before the competition (16-18.05)

Peaking for a marathon run

Peaking for Marathon
This illustration shows the competition preparation for a marathon. the tapering is less pronounced than for the triathlon or stage race shown on this page, due to the smaller training volume.