Taper Sessions!

With the World Masters fast approaching, I felt it was time to share with you the taper sessions which I used for the World Masters Games earlier this year. The weeks leading up to the World Masters Games were an exciting time for me. It would be my first time swimming in these games and as you can imagine, I wanted to perform on the day. This meant I had to carefully plan my taper sessions.

As I am currently in New Zealand, I had been training by myself for this competition. My brother, Mike, my father and my coach, Mike Senior and Ger Mc Donnell, contributed to my training by providing tips, sessions and sometimes eating plans for me. But now, it was up to me. I spent hours and days researching tapering sessions. I studied former international teams tapering sessions, along with advice on nutrition which these teams had used. I researched the results gained by these teams and created my own tapering sessions.

So, this is what I came up with!

First of all, all my research came with similar outcomes:

  • Decrease the training volume per session but keep the frequency of swimming.
  • Stop land work 5-6 days before the competition.
  • Rest!!! Get those ‘ZZZZZ” ! Go to bed early!
  • Do not change your diet too much. If you want big changes, you need to change your diet almost a year in advance (apparently!). Having said that, in the months leading up to my competition, I completely cut out ‘fast food’ , alcohol and junk food (apart from the odd treat here and there!)
  • Have a positive outlook! You have done all the training, there isn’t much more you can do. Tell yourself you can do this! Set realistic goals! Trust me, this works!!

And now, to my taper sessions…

I started tapering 10 days before my competition! Some may want to begin later, maybe 7 days to go, some longer, 2 weeks before. But, I felt 10 was enough for me. The sessions that will follow show the times and strokes which I used. Please adapt them to suit your own needs.

My sessions were as follows:

10 days to go!

Warm up: 200 Freestyle, 200 I.M, 200 Backstroke, 4 X25 sprints choice.

Main Set:

10X 50m F/C @50 seconds

200 I.M, 200 Brs, 200 B/k, Long Stokes. 20seconds rest between each 200.

16X50 IM order. Swam as drill 25/swim 25m off 60 seconds

5X100 Brs kick off 2min. descending 1 to 5.

200 Drill  F/c

6 X 25s. 12.5metre sprint, 12.5 easy. Do this with a dive if you can.

12X50m IM order off 60seconds.

300 cool down.

9 days to go!!

Warm up: Same as yesterday.

Main set:

200 Fc off 3 min

3 X100 IM off 1.30

8 X 50m fly kick off 60 seconds

8 X50 Bk drill off 60 seconds

8 X 50 brs 12.5 fast/12.5easy

8 X 50 Fc 12.5 fast/12.5 easy

100 bk easy

200m choice swam as follows: 50 easy off 60seconds, 100 sprint off 1.30, 50 easy.

150m choice recovery.

100m choice swam as follows: 25 easy off 30 seconds, 50 fast off 1 min, 2 easy.

150m recovery.

8X50m Brs off 50 seconds

8X25m IM order off 30 seconds.

300m swim down.

8 days to go!

Warm up: Same warm up as the other days.

Main set:

10X 150m swam as follows : 75m F/c, 25m kick, 25m IM order swim. Ten seconds between each 150m.

8X50m choice swam as follows: 25m steady swimming, 25m sprint. Swim these 50s off 1min.

Take time practising your turns. Start from half way and sprint to the wall and back out. Next, sprint to the wall from about 10metres, turn and sprint back out. Finally, sprint to the wall from 5metres and back out. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Take time practising your diving. Sprint to 10/15 metres. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Cool down: 300 m choice.

7 Days to go:

Warm up: Same as before.

Main set:

6X400m fc off 5.45. Concentrate on long strokes and turns.

Take time practising your turns. Start from half way and sprint to the wall and back out. Next, sprint to the wall from about 10metres, turn and sptint back out. Finally, sprint to the wall from 5metres and back out. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Take time practising your diving. Sprint to 10/15 metres. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Practice your finished. Attack the wall when you are finishing the race. Try not to finish on half a stroke for breaststroke and fly.

Cool down: 300 metres.

6days to go:

Warm up: Same as the other days.

Main set:

8 X50 IM off 60 seconds. Concentrate on turns and long strokes.

12X100 IM off 1.45. Concentrate on change overs between stroke. For example, a quick turn from fly to backstroke.

Take time practising your turns. Start from half way and sprint to the wall and back out. Next, sprint to the wall from about 10metres, turn and sptint back out. Finally, sprint to the wall from 5metres and back out. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Take time practising your diving. Sprint to 10/15 metres. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Cool Down: 300m

5days to go!

Warm up: Same warm up as the other days

Main set: 6 X50 IM order off 60seconds.

10X50 brs kick off 60 seconds

8X50s brs drill off 65 seconds

5 X25m race pace. Take 30 seconds rest when you hit the wall.

Take time practising your turns. Start from half way and sprint to the wall and back out. Next, sprint to the wall from about 10metres, turn and sprint back out. Finally, sprint to the wall from 5metres and back out. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Take time practising your diving. Sprint to 10/15 metres. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Cool down: 300m

4 days to go!

Warm up: The same as the other days.

Main Set:

3 X200 pull f/c with 20 seconds between each 200.

8X50 brs kick 10 seconds rest between each.

5X50s drill brs 10 seconds rest between each.

200 bk

3X100 brs or IM off 1.45 swam as follows: 50 race pace, 50 easy.

400 swim down.

3days to go!

Warm up: The same as previous days.

Main set:

10X100 IM off 1.45

16X 25 IM order with 30 seconds rest when you hit the wall.  Push yourself for these 25s.

Practice Turns, dives and change overs for IM.

Cool Down: 500 metres choice.

2 days to go:

Warm up: 300 fc, 200 back, 200 IM, 4X25m sprint choice.

Main set:

4X 200 IM drill. Long strokes, concentrate on turns. 20 seconds between each 200.

10X50m brs off 70seconds, drill up, swim back.

Practice turns, dives and change overs.

Cool down: 400m

1 day to go:

Warm up: 300 fc, 200 back, 200 IM, 4X25m sprint choice.

Main set:

6X100 drills alternating brs and IM, 10 seconds rest between each one.

10X25 choice 12.5m fast, 12.5m easy. 30 seconds between each.

Practice turns/dives and change overs.

Cool Down: 500m

 

 

Those were the sessions that I swam up to the World Masters Game. As I said earlier, the times mentioned were the time that I used but both the times and the sessions can easily be adapted to suit your needs.

Best of luck!!

Claire

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