By Diana Pimer, Swimming World College Intern
By the time most swimmers end their high school career, they pretty much have their taper routine down to a science. With the assistance of their coach, they know how many days out to start, how many yards to do each day, what to eat, and when to rest. However, sometimes you get a fun surprise at your championship meet like the NEISDA conference did last weekend.
Whether a blizzard postpones your meet a week, or you qualify for an extra meet down the road, it is important to know how to hold on to your successful season. Here are 5 ways to hold your taper:
1. Build your base
Okay, so this has to happen before taper, but it is important to build your aerobic base during the season. Swimmers who hold tapers are also the swimmers who don’t pull on lane lines, don’t kick when they pull or vice versa, and don’t skip practices or sets.
If your body has nothing left in the tank to fall back on, then you won’t be able to hold your taper. And most coaches will build you back up before they taper you down again. Don’t self taper. Trust them, they know what they’re doing.
2. Believe in your base
Many people have heard that championship meets are 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental. There are way too many cases where swimmers have built an exceptional base but don’t believe in their training come race time. Trust is a huge aspect of fast swimming. Trust your coach, trust your training, and trust yourself. You know what to do, no matter what point of the season it is.
3. Treat Yourself
It is important to eat healthy all season, but most swimmers find that extra motivation to eat their fruits and veggies two weeks out from taper time. Did you qualify for another meet? Did something get delayed due to weather? Treat yourself. It is okay to have a sweet or dessert one night. You probably deserve it and it is usually worse to deprive yourself than to indulge every once in a while.
4. Do extra core
The best exercises you can do without straining yourself are core workouts. No matter what point of the season it is, all fast swimming stems from the core. A couple extra minutes of core per day can really make a difference in your swimming, without tiring you out or making you feel too sore.
5. Be relaxed
The absolute most important thing you can do between championship meets is to stay relaxed. This is a vague term but includes so many emotions and actions. First, don’t over think anything. Some swimmers visualize their races, which usually works, but try not to spend every waking moment thinking about swimming and predicting what every single 25 split of your mile will be.
Push yourself in practice, then keep an open mind once you leave the pool deck. Also, do the other things in life that make you happy- read a book or make some extra time for family. Plan ahead so you are not stressed about homework or studying. If you are relaxed in training you will be relaxed when you race, which usually leads to the best results!