This is the time I have been looking forward to for weeks!! Finally!! After a 2:30 hour run tomorrow, I will be in taper...
What is taper you might ask?? It's when your workouts are reduced down to what looks like normal levels. Instead of doing 25 hours of workout a week..you'll be doing 13 to 15. I have been wishing for the phase for months but it does come with some things that can trip you up:
1. OVERDOING IT EVERYWHERE ELSE: The idea of taper is to let the body rest a little bit and recover from the big mileage that it has done over the last couple of weeks. If you take on the task of .. lets say .. cleaning out your attic like I did last year, you probably won't get the recovery that you need. I went nuts last year cleaning my house and getting things ready for a garage sale I planned for after Ironman. This year I really plan to USE TAPER to do just that...recover..rest and get ready for one of the longest days of my life.
2. OVEREATING: Ok...so your body has been use to burning all these calories and now you are reduce the number of calories you are burning by reducing your workouts. What happens? Well, for a triathlete with an eating disorder, it can be a recipe for disaster. Last year, I put on 5 pounds before my Ironman simply from nervous eating. I am conscious of that this year and will be reducing my calories and not stress eating (or at least keeping the stress eating under some control).
3. THINKING TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT IS TO COME: Oh heck, I already do this..but in taper, its worse. My outlet for race jitters has always been a long bike or a long swim (running is just not fun for me) but with the reduction of hours, the mind starts to play games. I have read a couple of books about the mental game of Endurance racing and I am hoping that it will help me.
4. THE TEMPTATIONS TO TRY SOMETHING NEW FOR THE RACE: I think everyone-from sprint triathletes to marathon runners alike might think the new socks, the new seat on a bike or the new bike shoes might be a better choice and help on race day but you gotta go with what works.
Why am I writing all these things down if I already know them?? To remind myself of the mistakes in my past. I need to learn from them and use them to make this race THE RACE of my life!!
This morning was my final longish bike ride. I awoke to cool temperatures which was a welcomed entrance of fall after 95 degree heat the weekends before. The wind was pretty strong but I almost welcomed being a little chilly as I headed out on the trail today. I was happy and sad in the same moment. This is it. We are so close now.
After my ride, I headed into one of my favorite triathlon stores in Winter Garden called "Tri n Run" (www.trinrun.com). If you live in this area and have not experienced Tammy and Jerry's fine expertise and service, I highly recommend it!! As I entered, I saw several friends who gave me big hugs and one of my favorite Ironman triathlete, Jane, who works at the store. My friend, Leny, introduced me to her friends as an Ironman. I shook my head but Jane nodded yes. Just a few more days Melissa, and you will hear Mike Reilly say " Melissa Daly...You are an Ironman!"
"Oh Jane...I said...from your mouth to God's ears!!"