Q: I have entered an event that is very important to me, and stand a good chance of coming in the top 10 if I do a good ride. I am currently riding a minute faster than last year
and was wondering, with under a month to go, how should I be training?
Warren Stokes, email


A: The period of training that has the highest impact on race day performance is between eight and four weeks before. The change in fitness over this final four weeks of training will be no more than two or three per cent. You are likely to get either fresh or fatigued.

Once the fitness is there, you can cut right back on training without losing fitness for a month or more. The training load should be reduced to allow the body to recover and repair. Although every athlete is different, your taper can be quite short (five days perhaps) from a high-volume schedule, taking it easy but with a few short race-type efforts thrown in.

From a high-intensity schedule, the taper needs to be a bit longer ? perhaps two weeks. This is a riskier strategy perhaps, as the intense work may have overtrained you. That said,
many riders do both ? fairly high volume and high intensity!