I hate the word “taper”. I hate it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the idea of rest. I’m not one of those “must train all the time” athletes. It may seem like that but I’m not, I really value rest, I love my rest days, I don’t get antsy. It’s actually taken me years to learn consistency in training.
No, I hate the vagueness of the “taper”. It always seems like it’s this period of time when athletes know they should be resting and praying to the triathlete gods that they will wake up on race day fresh and with the potential to race their hardest in some euphoric state. I hate that, it seems so chancy. I don’t like the expectations that come along with it.
Chuckie has a fantastic post on the subject and I buy it, hook line and sinker, it makes good solid sense. It’s a must read. Read it here.
I’ve learned oodles of stuff this year from Chuckie that I will never forget. One such training related lesson that will stick with me as long as I am an athlete is the following. Here it is, rocket science it is not: Fitness and Fatigue follow the same line. I’m a math-lovin kind of girl so I like the idea of lines and graphs and stuff. But I have seen it this year. When my fitness is going up, my fatigue tends to follow suit.
In regards to taper time, I like what Chuckie has done with me. He has slowly and judiciously increased the time between hard bouts. Running every day morphs into every other, into every third. It’s the same with hard bikes I see more and more rest between the efforts. But the efforts are still there. The fatigue falls away quicker than the fitness erodes. So the hard is strung out a little more and the fatigue is allowed to slowly recede. I really like this. I don’t feel like I’m over resting. There is work peppered with more and more rest and there is ZERO issues with feeling antsy, or crabby. I’m just slowly feeling a little better and a little better each day.
The exception is the SWIM. I don’t know about you, but I swim better in triathlon when I am spending lots of time in the water. My feel for the water is honed with time in the pool. So we increase the swimming these last weeks instead of reducing it. My swim “fitness” is really in a different place than my run and bike and Chuckie takes that into account.
I like too that these last days and weeks we use our time to train in specifics. I get to ride my trainer in my bathroom with the hot shower turned on.
I do runs in the shoes I’m racing in, in the socks I’m racing in, with everything soaking wet…because my feet/shoes/socks will be wet in Kona.
I dress warm all the time because Colorado is getting chillier, and Kona is not. As miserable as it can be, Punk Rock Racing makes sure I’m dressed with Grrr.
I get to do short rides in my Trakkers uniform to become familiar with it’s pockets, fit, and feel in the saddle.
Chuckie sends me pictures like this to start firing me up.
We use this taper time to hit the specifics. So I’m actually kept pretty busy. I really really like the way Chuckie has advised me through this.
So, while I hate the word “taper”, I do enjoy what it is coming to mean to me this year. It’s taking on a newness that feels right, it feels diligent, and committed. It feels like its going to give me the best chance of racing to my current potential on October 9th.