Time To Taper for the LONDON-PARIS 2022

Time to taper

With three weeks to go until London to Paris by Tour de France, your training kilometres should be pretty much in the bank by now and this weekend coming should be your final long training ride. It’s then time to taper so that you’re fresh and ready to go come roll-out from Imber Court.

London Paris - by Tour de France - The official Hotchillee annual ride event

Why taper?

When you train, as well as stimulating the physiological changes that result in improved fitness, you also accumulate fatigue. You can almost think of training as digging yourself into a hole of fatigue. A taper is a planned reduction in training load that allows you to emerge from that hole, fully reap the adaptive rewards of your training and be on top form on event day. 

A taper is only as good as the training you’ve done

If you haven’t trained consistently in the 8-12 weeks leading up to an event then no amount of tapering is going to save your ride. Be honest with yourself about the training you have done and, if it hasn’t been great, reduce your expectations for the event and maybe drop down a group.


Fresh always trumps fatigued 

If two weeks out from an event, you’re not happy about the training you’ve done, don’t try to crash train. In such a short period of time, you’re not going to gain any fitness and will simply accumulate fatigue. You’re better off being slightly underprepared and fresh on the start line than with two weeks of hard training in your legs and knackered. 


Scrubbing off the fatigue 

These guidelines are primarily for riders who are targeting sportives or multi-day events such as London to Paris by Tour de France. Tapering for these events, which don’t tend to require so much top end form and “zip”, is all about scrubbing off fatigue and, if that results in slightly heavy feeling legs for the opening kilometres on event day, it’s not a big deal as they’ll soon come to life.

Two weeks to go

When working back from your key event and scheduling your training, you should be planning to “finish” your training two weeks out from your event. This means that your final big ride should be done and dusted at that point. 

50% rule

A good rule of thumb is that, during those two weeks, you should be looking to cut training load by roughly 50% each week.

Start with your long weekend ride. If you say managed a five hour ride as your last big training effort, you definitely wouldn’t be wanting to do anymore than 2.5 hours the next weekend. Personally, I’d drop that to 2 hours, make sure most of the ride is super easy and maybe throw in a few 10-second spin-ups in the second hour. 

With regards to midweek sessions, again, you’re looking to cut the load – especially in terms of volume. If you say did 2-3 60-90 minute sessions, you should probably be looking to drop to 2 X 45 minutes in the first week of taper. You also want to be avoiding taxing long efforts so, no long FTP intervals. Short, sharp and punchy is the way to go so, sessions like 20/40’s or even high cadence spin-ups are what’s needed.  

In the second week of taper, keep it to 2-3 30-min sessions focussing on leg speed with maybe a few 3-minute FTP openers but nothing too draining – remember there are no fitness gains to be made, only fatigue to accumulate. 

Taper tantrums
Finally, one of the toughest bits of a taper is the psychological side. There will be a voice in your head constantly saying that you should be squeezing one more long ride or hard workout in – ignore it and stick to the plan! Your mood may dip – this is normal as you won’t be getting the same endorphin dose. You may gain a bit of weight – again normal as your body finally gets to fully restock its glycogen supplies – don’t freak out! Fill in the time and distract yourself by double checking logistics and event day plans, maybe getting a massage and just chilling  out! 

Next week we’ll give you some more top tips on how best to use your remaining rides and time before London to Paris by Tour de France. 

Questions about your training!?

Join us on the Hotchillee companion app where all of our Ride Captains and staff are happy to help with any questions.