Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Eat Like a Pro During Your Taper

(I made my Rev3 Quassy tattoo even cooler!)

With high training volume comes high caloric intake, and honestly, isn't that one reason why we love being endurance athletes during a training push? "Ugh. I've only had 2,5oo calories today. I still need to get another 1,500 by the end of the day!" The trick is to focus on well-balanced macro nutrients that adjust according to your training phases. This will help you preserve your precious "race weight" AND with the right food choices you can use your taper as an opportunity to get closer to that number you're obsessing over.


I'm going to use John as my example because he's dreamy. John is in the third week of his final push for IMLP. His current diet is comprised of high calories, high protein, well-timed carbs and coffee. A typical day looks like this:

Wake up - COFFEE - then get out of bed

Breakfast - whole grain cereal, toast with peanut butter and jelly, or fruit with peanut butter (pretty light breakfast unless its before a long ride)

Workout #1 - calories from Heed and Hammer gels, apples and bananas (if riding)

Recovery meal - omelet with spinach and cheese, yam or whole grain toast (like Men's bread), COFFEE

Workout #2 - same as above, depending on S, B or R

Snacks - protein based (hemp shakes, protein bars, hummus with bread and veggies, etc) and COFFEE

*Lunch often happens while training with training foods and pb&j and COFFEE

Dinner - ALWAYS with whole grains from brown rice, brown rice pasta, quinoa, etc/ also high protein from vegetarian sources like beans, tofu, tempeh and lentils/ usually homemade/ generously large portions

Dessert - Protein shake with chocolate, peanut butter and banana

Two things that John does really well when it comes to fueling for high volume training:

1) He times his macro-nutrients very thoughtfully
2) He prioritizes vegetables, especially leafy greens


When the taper begins (Saturday, July 2nd for our subject) there will be a major shift in this diet. This is the time that you can see your "race weight" numbers balancing out... IF you are thoughtful about your diet. John will focus on the following:

1) Remove dairy products completely in order to avoid asthma symptoms on race day.

2) Lower total caloric intake to reflect the drastic reduction in training hours and calories burned. This can be done without calorie counting by focusing on smaller portions, adding more fruits and vegetables, switching to lower glycemic index carbs, and PLANNING AHEAD.

3) Coffee detox. Yes. He will slowly wean himself off of coffee for a few days and then stop drinking it until race morning. The benefit is that you feel a greater energy boost from caffeine after not having it for a couple of weeks. The drawback is that you will want to die and you will be highly unpleasant. It's a great way to learn who your true friends are because once the fog clears you'll see them still standing there, making fun of your sorry state.

4) Promote nutritional healing by using mealtimes as opportunities to load up on nutrients. When you're training for hours and hours, day after day, your body is working hard to keep you healthy and repair the damage you are causing. Your taper is a great time to treat food as medicine to boost your immunity and repair your muscles.

5) Choose carbs with a lower glycemic index.

Finally, I'm not racing IMLP but I am going to use this taper schedule to refocus on healthy goals. Stay tuned for the Mid-Summer #i8this Challenge...


PJ said...

Great post, Christine.

As a side note, I will never, ever, ever, ever forget John after his first cup of coffee Timberman morning (a few years ago) after a week long coffee taper.

Holy energy!

And scary....

HolisticGuru said...

Thanks PJ!

Yeah. When I first met him I tried to discourage the excessive coffee. I learned the hard way.


Grant said...

Great post! Awesome and useful info.

Last year before Rev3 Cedar Point Full Rev I was freaking out about not being able to maintain my intended race weight during my taper. You gave me a few poitners, one in particular, and I was back down to race weight within 48hrs. So awesome! thank you again. And this year I'm racing even lighter than last year.

I fear the decafathon this year. Do not mess with a man during a coffee taper.

BAM! Race Weight!

HolisticGuru said...


You rule. BAM! ;)

Kelly said...

Great post! It's always so helpful to see what other people are doing with nutrition. Looking forward to another #i8this!!