This weekend, several of our GHP athletes are participating in the PIAA State Track & Field Championship. They are currently in a phase called “tapering”. Tapering is an intentional lightening on training volume and sometimes intensity. As you know from training, it makes you sore, starts to wear fatigue on you over time, and eventually you need some recovery. Especially if you’ve been training consistently and hard.
But when do you lighten the load? Here are 3 scenarios when you would lighten your training load:
- Usually, you lighten the load leading into important competitions. This is often a 1-3 week decrease in volume but increase or continuation in intensity. How long of a taper depends usually on how long you’ve been training and how voluminous your training has been.
- As a scheduled time for your body to recover from training. During non competitive times of the year, this is usually 1 low volume and/or intensity week every 3-8 weeks. This range is also based on volume and intensity
- Beginning of the postseason after the season is done. Once your season is over with, most athletes have a 1-4 week time to do minimal training, or just engage in other activities. This is usually not a phase of nothing, but can often just be a couple days a week of exercise altogether. This offers significant mental and emotional reprieve.
Whether it’s in the gym, running on the track, or biking 100-200 miles a week, there are times when your training intensity & volume are peaked, and other times when it’s low. What’s volume & what’s intensity?
- Intensity is usually measured as how close to 100% best possible performance you are training at, particularly when it comes to weight load and speed. +85% is usually said to be intense, and under 70% is deemed as “not intense”. Late season training tends to be more intense. Good off season programs have waves of high and low intensity periods.
- Volume is well, how much training are you doing compared to what you’ve been doing. Off season training and early season training tend to be high. Late season training tends to be lower volume
Constantly increasing volume and intensity concurrently can lead to injury. Often, only one factor should be changed at a time during a weekly training cycle.
Recovery is also when our bodies get better. Most of you train 1-3 hours a day and then your body uses the other 21-23 hours to get better. That happens on the macro scale as well.
After 3-8 weeks of training, our body needs a decrease in training to reap the benefits of all of the training you did as well as a slight change in stimulus. You may notice every couple of months we do a low volume testing week and change parts of training. These down weeks often serve as emotional and mental breaks from training.
Starting the week of June 14th, a lot of training will be getting ramped back up!
Our Trackside program will be moving to 7:15am on Mon-Thurs. See you there.
Good luck at states!!
**This photo is from our presentation with physical therapist, Nancy Foley. We learned some good information about injuries!