1 week to Wildflower!

Well, the countdown has begun – I can hardly believe it is so close! Only 7 more days until my half-ironman at Wildflower. The race kicks off at 8:00am next Saturday, May 5th!

Thursday night was our last big workout – the rest of the time leading up to the event is the final taper. I have to admit – tapering drives me crazy! For the uninitiated, tapering is basically where you significantly reduce your typical workout load to allow your body to rest and recover, so it is chock full of energy for the big race. While the idea of a taper sounds lovely (“You mean I don’t have to work out 6 days a week, and when I do, it doesn’t have to be 3-4 hours long? Beautiful!”), in reality tapering just ends up making me jittery and irritable.

However, I’m trying to really listen to tips on tapering from the pros – here’s a snippet from Mark Allen’s “A perfect taper”:

The final touches to any training program come during the taper. This is the period of your season leading up to a key race when you cut back your overall training volume and allow your body to absorb all of the hard work you did during your base building and speed phases. Doing the right kind of taper is an art unto itself. A taper is tricky because of what is happening internally when your body is given a chance to recover. When athletes start to give themselves rest, the system in the body that responds to stress (which is the system that allows you to get up for big workouts) starts to shut down. This is like working on the engine of your car. You cannot give the engine an overhaul while it is running. You have to shut it off. The same is true for our bodies. You have to shut the “engine” off for it to recover and charge up for the big races. And when you do this, you might feel like you are out of energy, sluggish, and getting out of shape. THIS IS NORMAL. This requires a readjustment of mindset. Allow yourself to feel less-than-stellar. It is just a signal that your body is repairing itself and getting ready for a big effort in a few weeks. Resist the temptation to go out and test your fitness just to make sure you are not losing it. This is the toughest part of a taper…the rest. Remember, during your taper REST. Take naps (if possible), reduce the overall workload in your life (if possible). Avoid the temptation to fill your free time with a million other things. Rest means rest. By race day the goal is to be so bored with sitting around that you are bursting at the seams to get out there and mix it up with the thousands of other athletes!

Anyway, we’ll see how things work out this week. Thankfully I managed to make it past Michelle’s strep throat and both boys with nasty colds without catching anything (knock on wood!) so hopefully this week will be calm and I can rest up!

Thanks again to all the readers that have donated on my behalf – once again, everyone has exceeded my expectations! I promise to make everyone proud at the race on the 5th. And of course, if you’d still like to make a donation, you can do so at my website. Thanks!


~ by Nathan on April 28, 2007.

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