Thoughts on Your Taper by Coach Linda

  • During Taper you will drop the volume of your swimming, not the intensity.
  • Maintaining your intensity allows you to maintain your efficiency and power and is critical for the maximum end result of speed.
  • Once a taper starts don’t expect any additional physical conditioning.  All of the improvements will now come from allowing your body to catch up to the hard training you have put in. Take care to not over exert in physical efforts, no strength training, running, heavy lifting, etc.  Your body needs rest, especially your legs.
  • SPEED COMES FROM REST. Quality sleep is essential.  Six to nine hours of sleep each night is essential for muscle repair and a burst of human growth hormone which helps rebuild muscle tissue.  (Scott Connelly, M.D., exercise physiologist and nutritionist). 

Consider recharging your cell phones in a room other than your bedroom overnight.  You all know why!

During taper you may feel more energized outside the pool, don’t be tempted to use it! Save it for your events and you will be glad you did!

  • During taper workouts concentrate on your technique and making sure that you are being as effective and efficient as you can be with your strokes, kicks, and turns.

REMEMBER:  Feel does not determine performance.  Don’t think that you should feel ‘good’ during your taper.  You might, but you probably will not.   Your body has been well prepared through difficult training, and it probably does not feel great.  You are tired and you are sore.  There is nothing wrong.  Don’t question that something is wrong or that ‘this isn’t working for me.’   Everything is right and as it should be.

Trust your coaches and your training!

Believe it; trust it.  Positive ‘self-talk’ is important; what you say to yourself or out loud can sabotage not only you but your teammates.  Your brain is a powerful thing. Be positive and let this happen. 

Think of your body as a car in a demolition derby during your taper:  a lot of knocks and dents and scratches (difficult training) doesn’t affect the speed of the car.  It might run rough for awhile, but it will still go as fast as you want it to when the time comes. 

(Concept taken from Complete Conditioning for Swimming, Sala/Riewald, 2008) 

Keep your intensity as the volume decreases.  Let your body recover.  

Eat and rest correctly.  Treat your taper with the same focus and dedication and intelligence as you have treated your training and the rewards will be yours to take.    

  • Think Nutrition: Since you are swimming less, you need to adjust your food intake to balance the reduced energy you are expending.   Portion control!

-Do not eat processed foods/simple carbohydrates such as white sugar, white flour,

 fruit juice, corn syrup, etc.  These will drain nutrients from your body that

 you need to retain for your athletic performance.

-Do not eat fast food in any form or drink soft drinks.

-Do not eat any fried food.  Avoid margarine and unrefined supermarket oils.  Salad dressing made with olive oil is the best.  Lay off the sugar! 

-Do eat quality lean protein (including egg whites) and complex carbohydrates such as whole fruit especially bananas, unrefined grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, etc. Wheat pasta is better than “white” pasta.

-Do eat lots of green foods (dark leafy greens) and vegetables and fresh fruit.

-Do drink lots of water.  Muscle fatigue worsens when you are dehydrated.  Just being in chlorinated water increases your need for re-hydration as does stress.  Do not totally rely on sports performance drinks; they are good in moderation for electrolyte replacement and for recovery.  But mix in H2O and a lot of it!


Linda Freeman/taper thoughts