How to Taper Training and Recover for a Competition
Hey everyone. I have received a lot of questions over the past week or so from those of you competing in our throwdown on August 4th. Most of these questions seem to revolve around how you should be training this week at the gym in order to be recovered and ready for Saturday. I wanted to address this question in a post so that it can reach all of you at once, and hopefully my response will make sense to most of you. As always, if you have any questions or something doesn’t make sense to you, simply send me an email for clarification.
When should I rest and why?
Resting before a competition is a delicate balance, more so than people seem to think or realize. If you spend too much time resting and inactive, your body will respond negatively and you will have reduced energy levels and delayed response time to the intensity of the workouts you will put it through in a competition setting. On the other hand, inadequate rest will cause you to go into a competition sore and fatigued, effectively shutting your body down from overuse. Different athletes respond differently to higher volume training, and many of you will have an idea by now of how you respond to multiple workouts in a week. Particularly for those of you who have been attending competition classes on Wednesday nights, you now know what it feels like to do two WODs back to back and how long it takes you to recover.
I can assure you that the competition on August 4th will have you performing more than 2 WODs, and many of you will need to ensure that you have proper rest to maintain energy levels but not too much rest so as to cause lethargy and fatigue. My suggestion for most of you would be to work out through Wednesday, perform active recovery on Thursday, and take a complete rest day on Friday. Active recovery could be going for a light swim, run, or bike at a sustainable and slow pace or it could be taking Thursday’s class at Reebok CrossFit Back Bay but performing the WOD at roughly 50% intensity (I know this will be difficult for many of you because you are competitive by nature). Trust me that going all-out on Thursday will NOT benefit you. While you rest Friday, make sure you do plenty of mobility. The gym is always open to members for this purpose; swing by and hop on a foam roller or lacrosse ball after work and stretch after a hot shower before bed.
Nutrition and sleep leading up to competition
If you typically cheat on your diet (Paleo, Zone, or whatever healthy eating style you follow) this week is NOT the week to enjoy the sugary treats, coffees, and pastries. You also, contrary to popular belief, do not want to “carbo load” prior to Saturday’s competition. Eat lean meats, nuts, seeds, plenty of vegetables, and some fruit. Drink plenty of water this week, particularly the few days before the competition. I realize many of you have a tight work schedule, but please try and get a reasonable amount of sleep this week. Particularly on Thursday and Friday nights, you will want to be well-rested for Saturday morning. Eat a healthy and filling breakfast before you come in on Saturday, and pack plenty of healthy, high-energy food for the day’s competition. Re-fueling after each WOD will be crucial to your success on Saturday, but it is even more important that your body is properly fueled in the days leading up to the competition.
Ensuring that you properly taper your training, eating well this week, and getting plenty of sleep leading up to Saturday will prepare you all to compete at your best on August 4th. You need to take care of your body to get the most out of it, and this is even more true when preparing for a high-intensity, multiple WOD competition. As I mentioned, if any of you have further questions please feel free to send me an email. Stay tuned this week for daily posts about competition strategy as well as some hints regarding the WODs you will encounter this Saturday. Keep training hard, and I wish you all the best of luck!