Question: I’ve used the tapering protocol you recommend in Basic Training for Roadies. It worked well. However, most of the tapering research seems to deal with the weeks before only one event. What if you have consecutive weekend events for two or three weeks? — Jimmy K.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Good question. The answer depends on the kind of rides you’re planning to do.
Let’s say you have an hour-long criterium or time trial on three successive weekends. Then you won’t need much taper (assuming you haven’t been doing big mileage leading up the races).
But retaining speed is paramount. So you’d do the taper I describe in my book for the first event. Then keep doing speedwork and short, fast intervals on two days each week between races. Add one longer ride of about two hours at a moderate pace each week, along with some easy spins.
But if your three events are centuries and you want to ride them for time, you’ll have to taper for additional days before the first event, and be careful about doing much speedwork or long rides before each subsequent century.
The rides themselves will give you the distance. Too much speedwork on top of the events may leave your legs without snap.
Tapering for successive events is mainly a matter of analyzing the demands of each one, knowing how quickly you respond to training, and knowing how much time you need to recover from a given workout to be at your best.