Friends, hello—I hope you’re having a great week so far! For those who’ve checked in with me this week, I’m alive! I never really got settled since coming back to New York City on Sunday night, so I’ve been trying to get Nautica South Beach preparations squared away (oh, and working!), hence my absence from the blog. But I’m back with a major update: I’m currently suffering from taper crazies.
Note to self: Add the rest of my races to this app.
Since my first triathlon of the season takes place in three days (cue cheers and nervous butterflies), I’ve backed off the duration and intensity of workouts this week, a process known as tapering. A lot of you know about this philosophy, but for those who don’t, tapering simply means storing energy for an upcoming event by reducing physical workload; depending on the athlete and the event, tapering can begin days or weeks before race day. For example, this Sunday’s triathlon is a short-course event (0.5-mi. open water swim, 19-mi. bike, and 4-mi. run), so my tapering period is relatively short as well. Good thing, too, because I’m going crazy. Here’s what my workouts have looked like this week:
Monday – My Full Throttle Endurance (FTE) teammates and I normally kick off the week with speedwork (specifically 5-ish miles slightly below anticipated race pace). This week, though, we did 20 minutes of tempo work. That’s it. Sure, we warmed up and did some dynamic stretching, but it felt so strange shutting things down after 20 minutes; I had so much left in the tank and was so amped and ready to keep going. But I respected the taper and spent some time stretching before I headed to the sauna for some heat training.
Tuesday – From now until winter, FTE will have organized team rides in Central Park at least once a week. My teammates have told me these workouts usually contain interval work or hill repeats, but Tuesday’s ride took the form of two steady loops. In related news, I rode with the “racing team” and didn’t get dropped—woohoo! We had the park to ourselves, which was really nice. (Surprisingly, not a lot of people bike at 5:30 a.m. when it’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit—strange, right?) When the team ride ended, I did a third lap with a teammate for a total of 18.6 miles. I usually strength train on Tuesdays, but Andrew said absolutely no lifting this week. Even though the leg press machine seemed to be calling my name, I respected the taper and stayed away from the weights. Easier said than done!
Wednesday – At 5:30 a.m. yesterday morning, FTE’s 80 SoBe-bound triathletes loaded bikes into three trailers that are currently en route to Florida.
Photo swiped from the FTE Facebook group. That’s me in the pink vest!
This was a semi-stressful learning experience for me, which I’ll blog about post-race. (There will definitely be a “TK Things I Learned About Traveling for a Triathlon” post.) Anyway, it took a lot longer than anticipated, so our indoor cycling session got cut to 43 minutes. Honestly, though, this was probably for the best because I have a really hard time backing off the intensity in the studio; we can see our heart rates constantly, so I try to stay in the orange or “very hard” zone for most of the workout. Not going to lie: I also like spending time in the red or “maximum” zone, but I made a deliberate effort to hold myself back yesterday. Anyway, we always run off the bike, but Andrew said no way. Again, I was so tempted, but respected the taper.
Thursday – I’m taking today totally off. Yep, you read that right: no easy swim/bike/run, no yoga, no nothing. Hope you’re happy, taper!
In related news, my appetite has been surprisingly OK this week. Maybe I’m still full from Easter ham and my grandma’s Venetian cookies, but I’m not thinking about food every ten seconds. Weird.
Ah, I miss this Easter dessert spread.
Also, since workouts have been shorter in duration this week, I’ve been ancy with this newfound free time. For the past few mornings, I went grocery shopping (why not?), ran some errands, and hung out in the sauna.
Bottom line, I’m fighting a taper battle right now. At the end of these workouts, my body has felt unchallenged and more than ready to keep going, and my mind has agreed: Let’s go, let’s push! And honestly, from a mental standpoint, I feel like I’m totally slacking. Yes, I’ve finished this week’s sessions feeling strong, but the conclusion of each felt anti-climatic—basically like I didn’t complete a solid workout. (And in the infamous words of my team’s head coach, if you’re not passed out and throwing up after a workout, you didn’t work push hard enough.) On the flip side, I feel very fresh and rested, which is directly related to the taper, so I know it’s working. And that’s having a positive mental effect for sure: I know I’m storing up energy, so I’ll be totally locked, loaded, and ready to do work on Sunday.
But I also want to do work right now. Darn you, taper!
How do you deal with taper crazies? Do you do anything special during race week?