In the world of athletics we often use
words that have very different meanings in a variety of sports.
Words are often used interchangeably. Three such words whose
meanings are often confused are: Peaking, Resting, and Tapering.
In the track and field setting each of these words has a very distinct
A peak performance does not happen by
chance. Appropriate planning can and does produce the desired
result. Discuss the season's plans with your coach, or plan them
ahead if you are training yourself, so that you can see the taper and
the resting point, and know that you will be peaking at the right time.
- Tapering. The
track season is divided up into phases. The longest phase of
the season is called the General Preparatory Phase. This phase
usually lasts one-half of the season. If your season is twelve
weeks, the General Prep Phase lasts for approximately six weeks.
During this phase your volume (yardage, mileage, etc.),
steadily increases until you reach the maximum desired yardage for
the season. At the end of the General prep phase you begin to
slowly decrease the amount of yardage done on a weekly basis,
hence the term tapering.
- Resting This
word is often confused with the word tapering. The two happen
at different times of the season. Resting comes at the end of
the season in the two weeks leading up to the championship meet.
Volume during this period is practically non-existent for sprinters
and fairly low for distance runners. The focus in practice is
more on technique, mental prep, and race modeling. At this
point in the season coaches are looking to refresh the body and the
mind for the main competition.
This word is the product of the above two words. Tapering and
resting produce a peak performance at the championship meet,
meaning you run your fastest time of the year at the last meet of
the year. The goal is not to run your best meet early on in
the season. If the taper is done correctly, one should
see time drops throughout, instead of waiting for a big drop at
state or sectional. The mind and the body must be prepared to
perform at an optimal level.