As you get closer to your goal you’ll want to be sure that you’re in the best physical and mental condition possible so it’s important to taper back on your training at the right time so that you’re recovered and raring to go. Try to structure your training into blocks, typically this may consist of three weeks of progressive training load (including endurance, intervals and recovery) followed by one week of low volume and intensity. Build these blocks so that you’re gradually increasing the training loads during the three-week “working” phase, keeping an overall eye on the date in the diary when you need to back off and start your taper.
Everyone is different so there is no set rule on tapering that will work for everyone. Often it’s based on experience and common sense. Over time you’ll understand how long you need after training before you feel recovered again so this is a good place to start. A good taper period will reduce the overall volume and intensity in the run up to the event but may include some short sharp intervals to wake the system up and keep your legs from feeling heavy on the day.
If you need to travel to the event then factor this into your taper period, it’s amazing how much this can take out of you. Eat well but don’t go crazy, since you’ll be riding less during the taper phase you’ll need less calories and, once again, sleep is king!