Most people reading this know the word. Most people have a different interpretation for it. I usually argue that none of us ride enough to enjoy a period of tapering.
You can read more about here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapering
I'm not a coach or a doctor, so I like to preach racing in easy terms. When I read what doctors/coaches say, I understand it, I just don't like repeating it the same way.
To explain tapering easily, I would say that you have a period of building, you overload the legs, you suffer, then you rest enough to where you are more than fully recovered and on race day, boom, your fast.
There are lots of writings, texts, studies to suggest different ways athletes should train. These work for many, but I don't have time to adapt my life to a mode of training. I race and train when I can. Many people do this, they set their lives to a riding schedule. Some ride everyday, while others have specific rides they do.
I will always argue that if you want to get fast for the long term. Don't rest too much. I was a pretty slow dude until I started riding 45 miles a day, 7 days a week, for 6 months straight. By November, I was shot. I usually road 15-20 miles to work, ate, work, then 20-30 miles home. By then end of this 6 month period, I was slow, but after a week of pedaling easy every day, I felt really fast again.
I'm not suggesting this is the only way to get fast, it is just the way I did it. I wasn't even trying to get fast, I just had to be at work on time, every day, and bikes were how I got there.
Now my time on the bike is much different. Usually I ride at least 1-2 hours during naptime pulling the kids around on the trailer. I can go fast or slow. During this time of the year, I am trying to make sure I am fast on race days. I want to be fast for tulsa so my plan is something like this.
I trained straight through the tallgrass stage race. It was never on my calendar as a c or d race, just a big weekend commitment, $90 entry, gas and hotel, to get beat up on my bike. I didn't focus much, there was no stress or expectations, just the hope that if I trained through it, my legs would get stronger.
26 1 hour crit, hard
27 90 mile road race, hard
28 1 hour trailer ride
29 1 hour trailer ride
30 2 hour trailer ride hard
31 3 hour trailer ride hard
1 rest some, ride when you can, not hard
2 2 hour road ride, 9am.
3 Race wichita, 80 minute hard
4 3 hour ride hard!
5 2 hour ride hard
6 2 hour ride easy
7 2 hour ride easy
8 Race Friday Tulsa
9 Race Saturday tulsa
10 Race Sunday tulsa
So I train real hard over the weekend. I rest on friday(6-1), because I will be at the store working all day and doubt there will be riding time. Then the 2 hour ride to prep for wichita crits.
I will ride super hard monday. I know I will not need a recovery day after just a 2 hour ride saturday and probably 2 hours on the bike sunday. If it were 3 days in a row of 2+ hard hours, or 1 day with over 4 hours, then I would consider the rest.
Going by day may not be always a good thing. Look at the hours too. Like on sunday, 5-27, I finished the 90 miles at noon, but on monday, I didn't ride until 6pm. So I had over 30 hours of recovery time, which is different than a 24hour day.
Same with racing in tulsa. I will finish my 2 hour ride at 2pm thursday, and will not race until 7:30pm friday, thats almost 30 hours of rest as well.
If you want to be fast, exercise 2 times a day. That gets you lean and mean. I will always argue that 2 hard 45 minute rides are better for you than 1 hard 2 hour ride per day. But during this time of year, resting is just as important as training.