Tapering for a big race is a mix of art and science. The rest an athlete needs going into an event is dependent on many factors, some of which are: physiology of the athlete, years of race experience, length of event, volume of training going into the race and how important the race is (A, B or C Race). It may take time working with your coach to figure out what taper works best for you. Rest is the key during taper, but it is best that the athlete do some short workouts with an injection of speed to stay sharp the week prior to the race. I have a favorite brick workout that I like to give my athletes 3-4 days prior to a race. This workout works well for Sprint and Olympic races, and with some modifications, could also be used for 70.3 or a full Ironman.
Set up T2 so you can practice race transitions.
10 min easy jog
10 min easy bike w/ cadence around 90 RPM
3x(8 min bike neg. split: 1st half aerobic, 2nd half race effort, quick transition, 4 min run: 2 min race effort + 2 min easy)
Easy spin or jog to c/d (total time = 44 min + c/d and the time to set up transition)
It’s a simple workout but gives the opportunity to practice a quick transition from a race pace bike to a race pace run to feel sharp without getting worn down.
This is usually the last hard effort workout prior to the race, then rest up and be ready to PR!