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Three workouts for taper week

Try these three race prep sessions two to four days prior to your next race to keep the system firing on all cylinders.

You’ve followed your training schedules religiously. Your fitness is at an all-time high, but now is the time to reduce your training volume and do some race pace efforts to get ready for the big day. These lower volume days before a race are usually referred to as the “Taper Period.”

Angela Naeth coaching her athletes, iracelikeagirl team, in Florida. Photo: Pearl Izumi and iracelikeagirl

Depending on the race distance and your objectives for that event, a taper period could last anywhere from two weeks to three days. Regardless, this period before a triathlon is critical to allow your body to rest and be fully energized for the big day.

Related: How to train for your first half-Ironman

The goal of a taper is to optimize your preparation, not gain fitness. During this time, your training volume should be reduced significantly. The exact amount is subject to preference, however, a common practice is to reduce one’s volume up to 50 per cent in the week or two before an event. Many athletes will perform a gradual taper starting a few weeks in advance.

On the bike at Ironman Boulder. Photo: Jordan Bryden

Despite the volume reduction, you should continue your regular routine and incorporate short race pace specific sets. This approach will allow you to maintain the endurance you developed during the initial preparation stage and get you accustomed race pace intensity.

Related: How to move up to the Ironman distance

Jan Frodeno ran a 2:43 marathon at Ironman Frankfurt in 2019. Photo: Daniel Clarke

Try these three race prep sessions two to four days prior to your next race to keep the system firing on all cylinders.

Related: How to get ready for your first triathlon


  • Rests (R), minutes (‘), seconds (”), warmup (WU), cooldown (CD), main set (MS), race pace (RP)

Swim (Olympic or half distance)

  • WU
    • 2 x 200 m (swim) R: 20’’
    • 4 x 100 m (50 drills / 50 free) R: 15’’ Drill:  Scull in front, Fist only
    • 8 x 25 m  (1 fast / 1 easy) R: 10’’
  • MS
    • 3 x 200 m  (RP) R: 30’’
    • 8 x 100 m (2 RP / 1 easy) R: 15’’
    • R; 1’
    • 200 m RP
  • CD
    • 4 x 50 m easy choice R: 10’’   0


  • WU:  20’ easy pace, including 4 X 100m accelerations R: 1’
  • MS:  5 x 2’ (repeats 1-3-5 race pace / 2-4 slightly faster than race pace (5 or 10 km pace) R: 2’ between
  • CD:  easily 15’


  • WU: 20-30’ building up to just below RP.  Include 3X1’ RP effort / R: 1’
  • MS Pyramid: 4 min at RP, 3 min at RP, 2 min at RP, 1 min at RP, R:2’ between
  • CD:  20’ easy