You’re a couple of weeks away from event day…the excitements there, but you’re not sure on how to taper. Do you run little and often, or a few long steady runs? The main idea of a taper is what keeps you calm, relaxed and focused ahead of your event. But what if there was a tapering strategy that improves your performance on top of the improvements you’ve made from your training? If this is what you’re after than take a read of this blog!
Many clients use our POD (passive exposure to altitude up to 6000 m) to acclimatise for their trips to some of the highest summits across the world. There are also many of our clients that use the POD to taper for their sporting event. Why do they do this, and how does it work? During your event, you’ll use oxygen to produce energy to perform. When the event gets tough (you may move faster, or harder), this demand for oxygen increases and you’ll need oxygen for energy more than ever. Using the POD improves your bodies capability of functioning with low oxygen, and supplying the body with some more when it needs it most.
Where’s the proof? A study carried out in New Zealand provided a group of multi-sport athletes one POD session (13.0-10.0% O2 for 5 mins, 20.9% for 5 mins, repeated 9 times) per day for 3 weeks. A matched group of athletes acted as controls (no POD sessions). Those who completed the POD sessions completed a 3 km running time trial 1.7% quicker after 2 days, and 2.3% quicker after 17 days! No changes were found in the control group.
Overall, tapering is important for peace of mind ahead of your event. A good taper will allow you to perform to an even greater level than you’d expect following your last training block. An extra percent gained here and there by tapering on the POD is only going to make you go faster or deeper, and will see you on your way to your next PB!
Hamlin & Hellemans, (2007). Journal of Sports Sciences, 25(4), 431-441.