Taper for Swimming – Issue #89

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Taper for Swimming

Dear Friend,

I often get calls from triathletes who have a race coming up in 2 or 3 weeks, and they want to take a swim lesson. The problem with this is, 2 weeks before your even would be the worst time to make any changes!

If you have gone this far with your stroke, do not attempt to correct things right before your race! The same applies with your diet, and your sleep cycle. The last 2 weeks before most races are part of your taper- the time when you back off your intensity, and the workouts become shorter.

Even though you may need to make massive improvements to your swim stroke, and you’d like to optimize everything before your race, don’t be tempted to “cram” (as I often did in my college studies), or make any drastic changes in this time. There will be time for that between races or in the off season.

However, it’s always a good time to practice drills! Read on for a sample taper workout, and check out The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming for a full plan!


“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”
-Will Rogers

Workout of the Month: Taper Time

Here’s a sample taper workout. Notice we’re still paying attention to technique.

WARM UP: 300, every 4th length backstroke

DRILL: 2×200’s
#1) Count strokes, take off 2 strokes per 50
#2) Build

MAIN: 2×500’s
#1) Concentrate on 1 aspect of your stroke every 6 lengths
#2) Build to 85%
Rest= 1:00

WARM DOWN: 200, work on breathing to your weaker side and sighting

TOTAL: 1900