Taper week tragedy - Athletes getting injured and sick in the taper weeks

Over my 25 years of observing, racing and coaching athletes for Triathlon, without a doubt the taper phase is the highest risk phase of and buildup. Let’s go through some of the reasons why.

Training is being cut back from the highs of your biggest training weeks. This leaves athletes in a state of being aloof and not fully present. There has been so much focus gone into potentially the last 10-16 weeks that when the pressure of nailing sessions is taken away, so does some of the focus. Due to this, it is very common that athletes have falls off their bikes, don’t watch where they are running and turn ankles or worse don’t turn on lights in the middle of the night and kick doors. In fact the list of silly mistakes that I personally have witnessed is long and quite unbelievable.  This is as true for age group athletes as it is for Elites.   

Sickness also seems to be knocking on the door in these final weeks. Having been holding the body together through some very vigorous final speed weeks of a plan, it is highly likely there has been an impact on the immune system.  This not only makes the athlete susceptible to colds and flus, but also increases the risk of getting food poisoning or infections in small cuts.    All said and done, it is a minefield the week leading in!

So what are some simple things you can do to mitigate your risk in taper week:

  • Turn lights on
  • Wear shoes
  • Make sure you are awake and alert before getting on the bike.  Even better ride on a wind-trainer 
  • Run on flat road surfaces.   Do not run where you know there are potholes or uneven surfaces!
  • Load up on vitamins and nutrients - we highly recommend Nuzests Good Green Stuff!
  • Stick to your nutrition plan and eat 'safe food' - ideally cooked by you, controlling water, washing and cooking
  • Stay aware of people around you.  Give yourself a wide berth of those sneezing, coughing and displaying signs of sickness

All the best for your taper week!