This is THE question. Every swimmer wants to taper but resting takes a lot more courage than training. Training is, relatively speaking, easy .Resting changes everything. It leaves you often feeling unsettled, nervous and often messes up your sleep patterns. Plus you have all this extra time and energy.
Our senior club trains 15 hours a week. Not a lot compared to some others, especially back in the day. Yet if you trim that by 1/3 to 10 hours, what do you do with those extra 5 hours? Maybe go a little bit crazy?
Here is the truth. To get faster you need to do 2 things: 1- work hard and 2 – rest. That’s it. But most athletes don’t work as hard as they think they do and few if any rest enough to make a real difference.
How can a person tell what advice to follow? That’s simple as well. In our sport of swimming look to the most accomplished coaches and see what they have to say on this, or frankly, any subject close to the sport. Accomplished coaches are those who have a long track record of success with a variety of swimmer types.
When it comes to taper we believe (based upon the above criteria) that you either need to rest 3 days or 3 weeks. Nothing in between has long term time measured validity. Some may even need more than 3 weeks. 1 week or 2 weeks or 10 days just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
Something else to consider…there are 3 items to consider around taper time…the tech suit, the shave, the rest. In our opinion, rest is the most important. It takes enormous amounts of courage to rest. First and foremost, train as hard as you can, then train some more. Then take 3 days or 3 weeks rest and watch how fast you swim.