Taper Time

It’s less than a week to my first race in Budapest. I had planned on only doing two weeks taper, but our masters coach, who is also the head coach of our junior club, advised me to start the taper slightly earlier as I’m in my mid-30s. It’s great to have such a resource I can turn to, while I am an Irish level 2 coach and swim teacher, working out my taper is tricky for two reasons. Firstly, it’s hard to recognise what you need. The temptation is always to do more, to push harder. It’s hard to tell yourself that you’ve done enough and it’s very hard to recognise that at this point not going to the pool everyday it what’s best. Secondly, last year was my first international masters competitions and was the first time since my days as a club swimmer that I had an end of season event to plan for, in previous years I ended up simply alternating between indoor and outdoor seasons. So, I would have to go back to when I was 16 or 17 to my last taper and unfortunately, I’ve lost my training diaries with my old sessions.

For the taper itself things are beginning to come together, but it’s still hard to tell if everything has been timed correctly. Doubts begin to seep in a little, did I over cook things by going too hard for the last few weeks before taper? On top of all this last week was a bit topsy turvey in terms of training, I had to go to Dublin unexpectedly which cost me a few days training. Luckily, I think I’ve managed to make up for it by getting a session in a 50m pool in Dublin, thanks to a fellow Irish masters swimmer, and I was able to fit in a session the same day we returned to our hometown. That first week was tough, but this isn’t unusual and things are looking up this second week. It’s a bit curious, my sprinting feels fantastic, but the small aerobic sections of my sets have me feeling tired. As a result, I’m really looking forward to my 100m and 50m races, however the 200m is a bit of an unknown at this point. A lot of my training has been geared towards the 100m, which should transfer to the 200m if I can get my pacing right. I’ll talk about pacing and preparing your race pace in a future post.

In other news, the heats for my races have been released and thus I have a rough timetable for my swims. While I am disappointed that neither my 100m or 200m are the first events of their respective days, it is a bit of a relief knowing that my Tuesday morning isn’t going to be a mad rush to get across the city and get my registration sorted should something hold me up on the Monday. Now I just have to hope I can get a few dives in on the Olympic style blocks, it’s been months since I was on that style block and as I mentioned previously I was using a different style of dive at the time. – Mike

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