Loic Hélin is 33, bachelor in physical education and a triathlete himself. He is from Belgium and successfully coaching of a group of elite athletes. Loic has got a very clear tapering strategy. His approach may be helpful for you as an age group athlete. Loic is first of all working with amateurs. He is connected with Biestmilch since several years. He discovered us when suffering from Lyme disease. Biestmilch helped him finally to recover from this dreadful illness.
I like his way of thinking. His training methods are taking into consideration that amateurs cannot train like pros, they simply don’t have the time. So he focuses a lot on quality training. His motto is: whatever you do, do it “FOCUSED”. You can compensate for a lot of volume, if you achieve the right intensity.And now here is Loic in his own word: “I try to keep the tapering strategy as simple as possible, especially when it comes to food.
I like very short taper periods. Lots of coaches and athletes work with 2 or 3 week taper periods but the chance to mess up your fitness in that long a period of time is very big!
With my guys I make a pretty short specific build up of only 5 or 6 weeks. This is only possible because our training level during the ‘general build-up’ is high and consistent. My motto is: better to train every week 12 hours instead of shifting continuously between 8 and 18 hours per week. In these 12hours per week I put pretty much quality in.
A short build-up only needs a short taper to get the necessary rest. In that way you don’t have to change lots on your nutrition plan because during 5 days of resting you won’t get fat ;-). If you taper for 2 weeks, a common reaction is to panic: you feel getting fat and slow because you rest too much and 3 days before the race you go out for a 4h30 bike ride and lose all what you have built up.
Our cook made a quatre-quarts cake with apples or mango (no joke) EVERY DAY, he cooked pretty normal food (only potatoes we didn’t eat because they are completely different in Kona) with the spices we are used to in Belgium. Then of course we had meat and fish. Pancakes based on bananas (straight from our garden in Kona!) were also integral part of our diet. After the last big training day, the Saturday before the race we went to Burger King: after 3 very big training days, the athletes needed some fat ;-)…
Moreover booster yourself with chewies, 3 to 4 a day to avoid the trough you may slide into after the overload training period. In case you feel more fatigued than normal, or you are afraid to develop a head cold or chest infection, take a Booster to buffer the symptoms, and maybe then take 6 chewy tablets a day during the week of before race.”
Stefanie Adam, best bike split in Kona 2012,
Sam Gydé, Ironman world champion, age group 35-39, 2011/ 2012
Frederic Sleutel, 12th age group 35-39 at Ironman World Championship 2012
Stin Veldeman, 85th age group 30-34 at Ironman World Championship 2012