Training do’s and don’ts #5: peaking and tapering

John Larralde has spoken at GAIN on preparing his milers to win California State high School championships. In his words: “Sometimes in the peaking process is not what you do it is what you don’t do.” Below are some thoughts on peaking and tapering, with some special considerations for how it applies to swimming.

  • What you do NOW is an accumulation of what has been done before.
  • Don’t aim to maintain – stabilize.
  • Female athletes must stay strong – strength training must be there; it does not take much.
  • This is all about racing your race – the times will drop if you race.
  • Race simulation is crucial – get them comfortable with their race plan.
  • Technique and coordination must be stressed throughout.
  • Touch on all components in the CONTEXT of the RACE PLAN.
  • If in doubt don’t do it. One less rep or set is better than one more.
  • Leave them wanting more.
  • Dryland training: recycle through areas that make them feel good – connected, coordinated, and synced. It is all neural not muscular. Cut out legs earlier for Breaststroke & Fly, also for male sprinters.
  • In this phase the science of coaching takes a back seat to art and feel for what you are doing.
  • Clearly communicate the message that the preparation has been done. Get them looking forward to Racing!
  • Easy and fast.
  • Focus on distribution of effort.
  • More of the same, rather than different – just disguise it.
  • Reinforce what got you there – “Dance with who brung you to the dance.”
  • Race ready and race hardened.