It’s 9 days out from my race and that means something very important! All crosstraining, core training, weight training, yoga, drills, stability work and bending stop!
This concept holds true for all endurance sports in my opinion and I will explain why.
The reasoning behind halting all extra training is simple and straightforward, yet much misunderstood and not adhered to by most.
We crosstrain, core train, weight train, do balance and stability work, drills and etc. for endurance sports for a reason (notwithstanding the benefits that they all hold outside of making us better endurance athletes.. which to me are at least just as important if not more) and that is to make us better endurance athletes. Crosstraining grants us more aerobic work while not taxing our muscles in the same way as our main sport, and (when considered in the context of running) allows us to gain aerobically while not adding to the impact of running (which I will talk about in future posts how to reduce). Core training gives us tremendous strength in allowing us to run with less effort and keep our form longer into a race. Effective core training grants us power through our posterior chain which allows for stronger accelaration and climbing. It grants us stability through our lateral tie-ins and allows us to keep our torso perpendicular to the ground with less effort. Upper body weight training grants us strength, muscular endurance and improved ability to maintain effective and loose shoulder, arm and upper back effectiveness. Yoga can grant us better form and stability through its stretching, poses and balance work. Drills drive in proper form and enable a quicker and more forceful stride with less effort. Stability work strengthens the tendons from the feet all the way up to the hips and is an indispensable tool for a stronger foot plant. Bending doesn’t have much of a positive impact on endurance sports, but I am convinced that my wrist strength saved me from spraining my wrist when i slipped trail running in mud once!
But none of these efforts mean anything if they don’t make you stronger and they won’t make you stronger (they will make you weaker) if you don’t allow yourself to fully recover from their effects when attempting to completely exploit them in a race.
Stopping all of these activities 9 days out allows your body to fully heal and strengthen from the hard work that you put into them. You want to get to the race being as strong and stable as you can be, and you won’t be in that state if you get in a core or gym workout three days out! You don’t taper your crosstraining and core work… you stop them. Why would you want to have sore abs or shoulders when you are attempting to get to a finish line as fast as you can!
9 days is the optimal time to have your muscles and tendons fully healed and at full strength so that you can perform at your best. Any less time and you are not 100% recovered, any more time and you will be slightly weaker than you could be.
There are other things you will be doing during your taper for sure (and I will elaborate on them in coming posts over the next 9 days) but the activities mentioned previously shouldn’t be on that list.
Trust me on this one.
Best of luck in your training!