5 Pieces to the Taper Puzzle You May Be Missing

kastigar
Photo Courtesy: Northern.edu

By Tori Caudill, Swimming World College Intern

Taper is basically the equivalent of Christmas to the average swimmer. The time when no longer are you going through grueling two-a-days over 10,000 yards or incredibly tough dryland workouts and lifting weights, but trading high yardage for high intensity.

There are many different kinds of taper, and almost every swim program runs their own version of the concept. But over all there is something to remember: Taper is more than just a time for resting in the pool.

1. Get a good night’s sleep.

sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep may seem like a cliché, but improper rest outside of the pool can be just as harmful to a taper as a high yardage practice the day before a championship meet. Sleep is the time when your body recovers from the day, without the proper amount of sleep many athletes fall victim to a semi-effective taper time and can end up disappointed with less than goal times.

Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night can also combat the extra energy building up in your body because of the rest in the pool. Sleep helps to regulate the brain and balance out the hyper-activity some swimmers experience.

2. Watch what you eat.

vegetables-food-masahiro-ihara

Photo Courtesy: Masahiro Ihara

While proper nutrition is important during the entire season, the foods you eat before the big meet can fuel you in incredible ways. Cutting out sugary foods and drinks will help to keep the natural energy being built in your system and prevents crashing throughout the day. A lot of colors, meaning a variety of fruits and vegetables, should be incorporated into your diet whenever possible. Healthy carbs and lean meats are also going to help in building your system for the race, along with helping to keep you from catching a bug before the big meet.

3. Review your goals.

what_are_your_goals

One thing I have found incredibly helpful is to have a list of goals starting at the beginning of the season, with additional benchmark goals added as the season goes on. However, the most important thing about these goals is to remember that goals are allowed to change. The goals that you write down at the beginning of the season may not be the same goals as those you have right before the big race. Your goals should be adjusted as the year goes on to make sure that they are still attainable.

I have made so many goals over the years without adjusting along the way, and many times, I was let down by not achieving them. In hindsight, I have realized that goals only work if you keep revisiting and revising them to account for unexpected challenges throughout the season.

4. Keep a positive mental attitude.

breeja-larson-tom-shields-mesa-2015-carena-club-cup-smile

Photo Courtesy: Kara Sekenski

One of the biggest hinderances to a productive taper can be a negative attitude. One of the best ways to combat this negativity can be having a set of realistic goals, as previously stated. However, a positive mental attitude goes deeper than just goals. Every practice, while less intensive, can be mentally straining. Take a deep breath, think about the goals you have set for yourself, and missing your pace during a set will seem like a minuscule problem.

5. Relax, it’s taper.

lay out

Photo Credit: Taylor Brew

Taper is the time to engage in no other activity other than what is required. Take the elevator whenever you can. Binge watch your favorite show on Netflix. Keep up the work in the pool and the laziness outside of the pool will pay off.

Taper is one of the most intense and equally relaxing times in a swimmer’s season. But the greatest thing about taper is the big pay-off at the end of the season.

8 comments

  1. Jonathan Schmitz

    Missing more than just pieces. I’d say missing whole sections.

  2. Kara Lennon

    Megan Mallon Rae Congdon good read

  3. Hannah Kastigar

    Yo that’s my momma!! Lookin all cute!
    Elyce Kastigar ??