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mutaullyassuredsuffering
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If you want to race slowly, take days off.

This is a very individual thing. Someone who claims to have a regimen that works for everyone is kidding themselves. The key to remember, is that no gains will occur from training for around 2 weeks. Once in that envelope, are you still trying to build gains for the next race, or just maintain and keep yourself sharp. Deciding the answer to that can make a difference in how much volume you do the week before. The only thing that is universal is you don't wnat to take all the intensity out, or you will risk having dead legs.

On the XC side, if you take a sampling of our team I'd guess you'd end up with:

1/4 doing a moderate ride - Day off - Race
1/4 taking a day off - short hard workout - race
1/4 taking a day off - pre-ride easy - Race
1/4 something else....

Endurance races are a different story. Some hundies take 6 hours, and some take 12...depending on the length, more or less rest is needed.

I do the first option above for XC. For endurance it depends on the length?
 

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duke of kent said:
If you want to race slowly, take days off.

If you want to be rested, and have good legs, ride easily, with a couple of short, hard efforts each day a couple (two or three) days before your target event.
I'm going with duke here. If you want to really learn about this issue, I'd suggest a running book called Daniel's Running Formula that duke is very familiar with and which made me a much better runner. I went from middle-aged weekend warrior to hanging with most of the local high school cross country team runners, just by training smarter. The book delves into "tapering" for racing in great detail and explains the science and physiology behind it. And there are scientific and physiological principles behind the general principles of tapering. Even if there is some variation among athletes, and there is, the general rules of tapering for big races are pretty well accepted. And tapering is very, very different than just taking days off.

Here is a quick summary of probably the two most important principles of tapering that most knowledgeable coaches would accept as being true for a well-trained athlete (and not just personal preference):

1. Reduce your volume of training leading up to the race, but not your intensity; and
2. The longer the race, the longer the taper.

I would never completely rest the day before a race. If you want to throw in a complete rest day, make it maybe the 3rd "training day" before the race. Then follow what duke said on Day 2 and Day 1 in the two days leading up to the race. You want to be rested and sharp going into a key race--not rusty and sluggish.
 

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Gatorback said:
I'm going with duke here. If you want to really learn about this issue, I'd suggest a running book called Daniel's Running Formula that duke is very familiar with and which made me a much better runner. I went from middle-aged weekend warrior to hanging with most of the local high school cross country team runners, just by training smarter. The book delves into "tapering" for racing in great detail and explains the science and physiology behind it. And there are scientific and physiological principles behind the general principles of tapering. Even if there is some variation among athletes, and there is, the general rules of tapering for big races are pretty well accepted. And tapering is very, very different than just taking days off.

Here is a quick summary of probably the two most important principles of tapering that most knowledgeable coaches would accept as being true for a well-trained athlete (and not just personal preference):

1. Reduce your volume of training leading up to the race, but not your intensity; and
2. The longer the race, the longer the taper.

I would never completely rest the day before a race. If you want to throw in a complete rest day, make it maybe the 3rd "training day" before the race. Then follow what duke said on Day 2 and Day 1 in the two days leading up to the race. You want to be rested and sharp going into a key race--not rusty and sluggish.
Ah, Jack Daniels. My first love. And the bane of my existence.

I have yet to crack so spectacularly in a bike race/workout as I have in workouts adapted from his training, as prescribed by the university track coach.
 

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This article was in Velonews a bit back; and offers a few different perspectives.

Typically, recommend (if racing sunday) Off Friday, "openers" saturday, and race sunday.
If it's an "A" priority you should have all your training in and started the tapering/peak process at least 2 weeks prior, if it's low priority or training race, that's a different story as you'll most likely not be tapering.

The better you want to do in a race the stronger and longer the taper you'll have; though there is a point of diminishing returns.....
 

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jdubb12 said:
sorry for my noobness but what are openers.
Openers are short intense efforts, aka FULL GAS! generally 30sec-60 sec in length.

You do a super hard high intensity effort, then rest up for a moment and repeat. Very short set of intervals, designed to "open" you legs up and get them ready for the next workout. Helps the body and muscles get set up for increase in bloodflow to muscles and the impending lactic acid rush that will come the next day.

An example opener workout would be 4x45 seconds on FULL GAS!, 90 seconds off
 

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Gatorback said:
I would never completely rest the day before a race.
I agree with everything said so far (especially the reduce volume but not intensity concept).

However, I think the above statement is much too broad. I've coached someone that won a road race state championship and one that won a mtb national championship with complete rest the day before (albeit with a strong warm-up on race day in both cases). Me personally, I've had plenty of "no chain" days after a complete rest day. To me, the timing of the rest is a very individual thing--some folks are OK with rest right before, others are not. I always test it with each athlete to see what works best for them. I also consider what they have been doing leading up to the taper and the type/length of the race.

One other thought, I like to reducing volume during a taper period by alternating day on, day off (rather than reducing volume each day). I was once in a seminar where Joe Friel advocated this approach--I like it too.
 

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mutaullyassuredsuffering
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My point

millennium said:
some folks are OK with rest right before, others are not. I always test it with each athlete to see what works best for them. I also consider what they have been doing leading up to the taper and the type/length of the race.
Apparently, I just like to race slow:thumbsup:

I have experimented with every conveivable variation pre-race and I end up with the day off before the race. I have verirfied this with 60+ races and four or five power tests... don't ask me why....As long as I get a good 1 hour warm up with some openers, I'm doing fine. I have been forced into 2 days off before and felt a bit sluggish. 3 days off and my legs are dead.
 
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