Author Archives: Nick Leonard

JOURNEY 21 – Don’t Tamper with the Taper

Dr Carolyn (Crazy Doc) Bosak

With Cairns IM/70.3 coming up, we’ve finally reached taper. You’d think that this would be the easiest phase of training, with its reduced loads and more time on your hands, but it usually presents a few issues to deal with…as I first found when I coached myself to my first marathon in 2008…

No penance training!!

Stick with the program: resist the urge to do longer/extra sessions as initially you find you have more time, and sometimes even guilt about not training enough.

For example, in race week don’t run to the gym, do a 1 hour HIIT class, and run home…just saying

You’re a pain in the @$$…

As your training load reduces and your body and mind go through exercise withdrawal, you may be grumpy and irritable and damn hard to live with…potentially made worse by spending extra time with people you may not necessarily like (did I say that?)

Feel free to use the counter-argument “it’s physiological”.  (But don’t quote me, I’m not getting involved.)

…and you’re in pain

Recovery and adaptation can be associated with phantom aches and pains, some which you’ve never experienced before – even in your heaviest training weeks

Don’t panic!! Trust that these are part of the process, and let them work their way out. Manage them without much fuss, because focusing on your pain only serves to worsen them – which causes more anxiety – which worsens your pain, and so on.

Don’t comfort eat

Be mindful to counteract the reduced activity with a reduced calorie intake, reducing carbs/increasing your protein somewhat, though you still may put on some weight as your body replenishes chronically depleted muscle glycogen stores (each gram of carb is stored with 3g water).

But I’m not feeling the love…

Towards the end you’ll feel sluggish, heavy and lethargic – even until the day before -again, a normal part of the taper experience. Don’t be tempted do test workouts to check you’ve still ‘got it’. Trust that if you’ve done the work, it’ll all come together race day.

Taper Styles 

The science definitely supports tapering – whether your race takes 4 minutes or 4 hours, and there are different taper styles, differing  by how much volume and intensity are reduced, and over how long.  According to Prof. Inigo Mujika, who has researched tapering extensively, the optimal taper is individual, depending on your adaptation and recovery profile, and has nothing to do with age/experience/event distance.  You can make assumptions from your responses to training – which your coach will have an idea of, but it ultimately comes down to trial and error.  This is strategic taper tampering (say that quickly 10 times).

Happy Tapering, and good luck!!                                                                                                                        


I’m sure that got your attention, but I mean this metaphorically, of course.

As some of you may know, I recently held a seminar at ETPA – “The Effect of Female Hormones on Sports Performance” discussing this crucial, but often neglected area for females in sport. My knowledge and interest in this area has enabled me to personally maintain a long successful experience in endurance sport, and professionally help other high performance athletes in what is often the missing link in their sports performance.

And it makes sense that it’s not mentioned, considering that most sports research has been performed on males, most coaches are male, and most ground level experience has been on male athletes, let alone how many of us feel comfortable talking about our period to our coaches, and vice-versa? Hence the title of this post.

With female participation in sport on the rise, we are seeing the fall-out of training females the same as males. A media-worthy example of this is in women’s AFL, which saw 6 ACL ruptures in the first 4 weeks of the 2017 8-week season.

Last week I attended a guest lecture at La Trobe University “Women’s Health in Sport” held by Dr. Georgie Bruinvels. Herself an accomplished athlete, she’s heading some great research in this area for elite sports performance company Orreco, which boasts elite and professional clients in all sports disciplines. While my mission is described in the title of this article, Georgie’s is to “Make the unmentionable (menstruation) mentionable”. It’s great to see that this concept is finally being addressed at the top level.

It provided a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded people in health and sport, but what was clear was that more research needs to be done in order to provide solid, evidenced-based recommendations for female athletes, and their coaches, which is an area I am certainly interested in pursuing.

What does this all mean for us female triathletes?

With our often high training volumes, fit in around already busy lives, periodising training to our menstrual cycles is crucial, otherwise we risk injury, stress fractures, under-performance and burnout, amongst others.

And we all personally know examples of these.

If you’ve experienced fluctuations in training and performance, or seem to be recurrently tired, sore, sick or injured, it maybe due to the hormones of your menstrual cycle.

My upcoming post “Get on Track” explains how to start to piece together this puzzle.

Dr. Carolyn Bosak (Tonelli) – AKA ‘Crazy Doc’ balances (at least tries to) being a GP, wife, mother and triathlete

F: drcarolynjbosak


ETPA announces ‘Become an Ironman’ Promotion

Chase your dreams become an Ironman!

ETPA is launching a new training program designed to get athletes ready for half and full distance Ironman races.

ETPA has developed an international program structure with the advent of a US based program.  ETPA is proud to boast over 150 first time Ironman finishes and 600 Ironman finishes.  We have produced Australian Champions, Asian Champions and World Champions.

If you are looking to complete and Ironman race, wanting to return to training or looking to get started for 2018/19 season contact us for more information.

Contact Mat: 0414 303 464 or