Assuming most triathletes have a long season ahead—with an A race in a few months—strategizing for an early-season “dust off the cobwebs” 70.3 can be tricky. You don’t want to be in your most peak shape, yet you want to make a proud showing come race day. For those competing in upcoming March or April races, here’s some advice for how to handle your taper and race strategy.
Your Taper Plan
“Your early season race doesn’t need a 10- or 14-day taper as you simply haven’t built up that much by this point in your season,” says coach Patrick McCrann of Endurance Nation. McCrann’s athletes take the winter training approach of “fast before far”—building speed in the off-season with minimal distance work—before six to eight weeks of concentrated half-Ironman training. If you’ve been following a more traditional plan (building long, slower base miles first before moving on to speed), he suggests one final long ride and run on the Saturday before race weekend.
You can probably get away with a one-week taper so you’re sharp but not too sharp at the starting line. Endurance Corner coach Gordo Byrn keeps his athletes’ tapers short for March and April events. “I don’t want to shed too much training load for the early season races so I have the athlete rest more after the event, rather than before,” Byrn says.