Race Day Form

A comment from @jorgan and @Hammerer on the sub 9 thread about people chasing metrics such as TSS reminded me I had a question.

This was my first big block really using TSS etc. Whilst I was good at just observing it as part of my plan, I did start questioning my approach during the last week of taper.

Hard to see “fitness” (I know it’s not) falling. Especially as my form went above +25 which Friel suggests is optimum. An internet search just brought up others copying this accepted dogma that +5-25 is best for race day.

Will be individual, but would be keen to hear others views on whether they think TSB metrics contribute to the balance of rest vs getting lazy in taper week?

Have thought it might be contributory to me feeling ill after a few days of +35 (although more likely travel especially given bad flu winter here)

1 Like

I personally ignore TSB in taper week- I perform better in Ironmans erring on doing less in taper week and there is enough influences outside of PMC chart normally pulling me to do more.
Normally I can sit between -20/+20 with little impact. -25 though and I can always count on getting sick - +25 - lethargic as all get out.


I largely ignore it* as it can’t account enough for other forms of stress. I trust my own check-in as to how do I feel/mood/motivation/soreness as being as good/better than any metric.

As I say, my planned taper had me up to +35, but this was partly because I’d been on nights so was “over-resting” (as TP would have it) to account for that stress

But keen to keep hearing others views.

*For now. Those with years of their own experience will have better judge of what numbers at the top and bottom is good for them, which I suppose is a poll of what I’m wondering.


It really is a fine line, and only trial and error can get there over time for each individual. Matt Dixon made me try something new when I read his book a few years back, thats basically 3 week taper, first 2 weeks get the recovery in, but build into the race on the final week so that you are fresh but you’ve “woken up” the body. One of the reasons people feel rough is that the body recognises the reduction and basically thinks, i need to repair, i dont know when Ill get another chance and essentially shuts down some functions. By increasing in the last week you start opening up these systems again. The trick is getting the amount correct and the rest just right. This can be judged by TSS / TSB but as said TSS is heavily skewed to cycling IMO.
Ill add hes also one for not doing traditional 3/1 as the 1week rest is too long, so you “wake up”, then have a really good 2nd week, then spend third week getting progressively more fatigued meaning the 4th rest week the body shuts down too deeply again .
Whilst i dont “set” days off, i like to make sure every 10-12 days theres an easier bit just for a couple of days through life or enforced, so it stimulates recovery but the body doesnt go into deep recovery the week seems to do. Obviously the older you get the more recovery is required.


I’m not a fan of the three week taper.
I’ve found that 10-14 days is great for IM.
Probably not much need for a half at our level :+1:t3:


But it could be… in fact it possibly is, it’s just normally that the loss in some fitness measures are compensated in others, you can never optimise all of them. Some things the body really doesn’t supporting if it doesn’t have to. Plasma volume responds up and down really quickly, so stop training, it’ll probably reduce in a couple of days. It’s generally why you reduce volume in a taper but keep and maybe even increase intensity, so you’re trading where the gains/losses are.

The main problem with TSB / CTL etc. is that it all comes from TSS and that is simply not accurate enough to optimise what you’re really talking about +5 vs +25 etc. You already have the inaccuracies of TSS as a measure between different work outs, you also get the inaccuracy because TSS being so laggy (for power based TSS, you need to know your FTP, but you can never know what your FTP was on a day, and when gaining fitness it’s going up every week, hence later sessions are over-reported in the TSS, as your FTP was really higher - the workout was easier. This actually compounds the taper error, as the workouts in the taper are essentially less intense than you’re grading them because of the taper increasing your performance.

As @Hammerer says, TSS is skewed by cycling, this again is due to the calculation limitations, it’s so biased to cycling (despite originally coming from running) that people like training peaks just have a random let’s add 10% to it when running. But cycling is also extremely sensitive to rewarding walking to the shops intensities that you’d never reward normally.

For me personally, so many people seem to over-rest in everything, the 3/1 training week as hammerer says promotes this (overtraining in the week before the rest, undertraining in the week of the rest just not providing adaptations.


Look at the number of pros who fall sick right before an event. In St George, Gustav, Ali, Blumenfeld all were ill.

What works for me in week 1 is race pace intensity but lower volume… i’ll go from 2h30 per day to 1hr45-2hrs. Second week i’ll reduce running pace and volume, this time i will keep swimming. Friday and Saturday before race will be really easy