UNDERGO A DECENT TAPER
The critical importance of a decent taper was described in post 5 (Newton’s 9th rule of training).
Indeed, if athletes do the same amount of training, they will benefit more by performing that training at altitude, as their performance at both sea level and altitude will increase more than if they did the same volume of training at sea level (Terrados et al, 1988). Altitude training reduces blood lactate levels more during submaximal exercise than does sea level training and increases muscle capillarization more (Terrados et al, 1988).
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Bruce Fordyce tapers for the last 3 weeks before his ultramarathons and runs very little in the last 10 days before a race (see Exercisess 8.27 and 8.28). This tapering procedure has worked for him and I suggest that his is a basic approach that could be followed by all.
Arthur Newton’s rule was to reduce training by 15% 3 weeks before the race and by a further 10% 2 weeks before the race. He continued to train quite hard until 4 days before competition. Thus, he tapered much less than does Fordyce.
Few other authors have discussed the importance of tapering. Galloway (1983) advised that training should be reduced by 30% 2 weeks before a marathon race and that one should only run 30% of the usual weekly total distance in the first 4 days of the last week before the race. For the last 3 days he suggested running only 2 to 5 km daily.