Preparation, Tapering and Performance
10.10.2015 25 °C
All great sportsmen reflect on their performance and consider what went right and, more importantly, what needs changing for next time. And when faced with circumstances they have never previously experienced they set themselves up for success through preparation.
The Australian Swimming team, 12 months to the day of the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio entered camp in Canberra. They changed their clocks to Rio time, planned their day on that basis, used artificial light to condition their bodies to the different time zone, and then held Heats, Semi Finals and Finals for all their events as if they were at the Olympics. In the lead up, they would have also worked on their “Taper”, that is, the change in their training load and intensity, which is unique to every athlete.
Who knows how well it will work, and, in reality who cares, as it is only performance in the moment that determines the effectiveness of everything before.
So you can imagine my challenge, as I prepared for my final week before hitting the Bamboo Road, how do I set up my Taper. Not having a team behind me like Swimming Australia, and, given the fact that using the term “great Sportsman” in the same sentence as my name has never and will never happen, I still had a plan.
After a few weeks of 250 - 300k’s in preparation, I was doing 40 on Monday, 60 on Thursday, and 50 on Friday. I knew that would have kept my legs fresh for the adventure.
As the Week unfolded, and the ache in my neck grew to a headache, my temperature rose, the hot and cold sweats swamped in, my throat became angrier and all I could do was fitfully sleep I thought…”Is someone trying to tell me something?”
No. I’ll be right. Quick visit to the Doc, I’m not going to die. One of the last things I decided to do then, was wash the car. As I replaced the foaming brush and stepped back to grab the Spray hose, and tripped A over T over the hose and fell into a freshly laid pile of foam…”Is someone trying to tell me something…still?”
So my planned taper ended up being a practiced stop. What affect will it have, I will know next week.
But if someone was trying to really tell me something, then he/she has a great sense of humour. Arriving in Hong Kong and jumping in the taxi, with the wipers going hard against the rain and the wind, the first song on the radio was Bicycle by Queen….”I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike…..” Taper or not, I’m here and ready to ride.
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