Having Trouble Tapering Before an Event? We Tell You How Less is Really More

You’ve made it! After weeks (or months) of training, you’ve finally hit the period known as “tapering.” Whether it’s for a marathon, bike ride, triathlon, or other athletic competition, the taper is the period where your major training winds down leading up to the big day. You’ll go from intense, and often lengthy, training days to less intensity and fewer training days until your event. Although tapering can be a celebration of nearing the finish line, it can also be frustrating, and leave you a little lost. We tell you how to shift your perspective and get through tapering by realizing when less is really more…

Time Off = Too Much Time on Your Hands?

Many distance events (half-marathons, marathons, bike rides, multi-events like triathlons) require a pretty hefty time commitment. Depending on your fitness level, you can also take on training plans for shorter races, as well. For example a full marathon training plan may involve starting to train in early July for a November event: that’s going to be a lot of evenings and weekend mornings accounted for! Yet, when you hit the taper period, the once-high mileage days suddenly drop to distances that may not seem worth it to lace up your running shoes. It’s the same with any training plan that requires a rest period and dramatic drop in intensity: suddenly, you’re left not quite knowing what to do with yourself.

As Body One Physical Therapy’s own Dr. Brian Pease said when he has had to taper before a bike ride, you can end up feeling guilty and even lazy – because you’ve built both a habit and even a compulsion to be active at a very high level. Decreasing your activity level typically isn’t comfortable for very many athletes; however, this pre-event rest period is a vital part of training. By accepting that tapering is part of your plan, you can hopefully dodge any feelings of guilt and save your energy for the event!

Realize Your Body Needs the Rest

In fact, by realizing that less is actually more may help you shift out of feeling guilty for taking a well-earned break. Our bodies are amazing and can perform astonishing feats; however, we’re only human and if we don’t rest and recover, we may not make that starting line in the best possible shape. By taking time to wind down our training and allow our bodies to replenish energy stores and recover from the demands of the training period, we actually give ourselves the best possible chance at a good performance on “race day.”

Less is more is a philosophy that also applies to helping our bodies recover from other types of injury; sometimes, pushing too hard doesn’t add value and can slow the healing process. In physical therapy, for instance, your physical therapist will work with you and give you a specific type and amount of stretches or exercises to do daily, or even weekly. Overdoing it in this form of recovery isn’t beneficial either. By following the plan, you’ll allow your body to recover faster and hit your goals – whether they’re crossing a finish line or simply working in the garden. Whether you’re following a training plan or physical therapist’s treatment plan, your body requires those rest periods to perform and heal at your peak.

If you need help reaching your goals, Body One Physical Therapy is here to help. Our experienced and caring physical therapists treat clients of all ages and activity levels and would love you help you cross your finish line – whatever it is. We are locally-owned with four locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Call us today and find out how we can help you achieve your goals!