Ah the taper. You would think that taper means that the week would be easy, but in reality, all Ironman taper plans still have over 10 hours of workouts scheduled every week with the exception of race week. I basically took my prior week’s mileage/time and reduced it by 20%, with the exception of swimming – this was actually my peak week of swimming since my open water swim was a full 2.4 miles. I’ve read that tapering the swim is less important – it’s mostly the long bike and long run volume that really come down. Here’s how the week went down:
Taper Week 1 – Week of June 4-10
Monday – Rest day. After 7 days in a row of hard training last week followed by two beers on Sunday night, I decided to switch rest day from Friday to Monday. I think it was a good choice!
Tuesday – Following the principle of maintaining intensity but reducing volume, I decided to slightly modify last week’s 6 mile run with 6 x 800 intervals to a 5 mile run with 4 x 800 intervals. I felt good on this run and had no knee pain at all which was a relief!
After work I did 60 minutes of P90X2 Yoga. It felt great to stretch! My knee wasn’t bothered at all except for during the splits portion when it was being jammed against the ground – only then did I feel any sort of discomfort. As usual, my arms and back were sore by the end of the workout since I NEVER do push-ups anymore. Sad.
That night I iced my knee just in case.
Wednesday – I was relieved that master’s swim was pretty low key this day. We did a lot of long intervals at base + 5 and base so basically it was just a long continuous swim session. By the end I had swam 4,000 yards. I was tempted to go 200 more just to get to the 4,225 that equals = 2.4 miles but I was running short on time.
After work I celebrated National Running Day by going for a run with Asia. Since last week my mid-week long(ish) run was 8.3 miles, I did the math and calculated that 20% of that was 6.6 miles (yes I like numbers) so that is how far I ran. Asia wanted to add some 90 second pick-ups for added intensity so we did about 4 of those. We were surprised when the mid 7 min/mile pace we ran for those 90 second intervals didn’t even feel difficult (albeit it was only 90 seconds). Maybe one day I’ll be able to say the same about a pace in the 6s!
Thursday- I slept in and then after work finally got back on the bike after 3.5 full days of rest for my knee. I had told myself that if I got on and my knee hurt AT ALL, I would immediately get off. No point in messing anything up over a 60 minute easy spin. However, my knee didn’t hurt AT ALL so I went for a full 60 minutes of spinning. I kept the cadence super high and resistance low and stayed in aero for nearly the entire 60 minutes. As I mentioned before, on my ride last week I noticed that my knee hurt more out of aero than in and with the new more aggressive fit I have, it is actually more comfortable to be in aero than not. However, my new aggressive fit and the guidance I received to sit further up on my saddle caused quite a bit of hoo-ha pain. Not sure what to do about that….
Friday – I headed to Masters Swim again with the realization that there weren’t many of these early morning pool days left! I was hungry when I woke up but didn’t have time to eat which I think affected my swim. Only when I’m hungry do I eat before swim – usually I go without anything. Usually even if I don’t eat, the hunger goes away but it stayed with me during this workout. I think that it affected my energy level because by the end of 3,600 yards I was pretty tired. The Monday/Friday coach usually incorporates more speed work but this was actually quite an endurance session again which is usually easy for me but by the end I was having a hard time keeping up. I also think the leader in my lane has started to swim some of our base 100s at about 1:35 so that could be part of it! I also learned on this swim that my Garmin 910 doesn’t count laps unless you actually stroke your arms, so if you do a kick set, it won’t count your yards. I don’t appreciate that! I’m wondering if I pretend to stroke with one arm one time halfway through the kick set if it would count it. Not sure if looking silly is worth the accurate Garmin data though….
Saturday – I was nervous when we set out for our ride since I knew we’d be doing lots of climbing and that is what irritates my knee but I was VERY happy to have no pain for the entire 58 mile ride. I could tell that my knee was still not 100 % healed though – I can feel that it’s off, but there is no pain. After the ride we did a quick 4.3 mile run. As usual, my pace on the run was fast off the bike. Not counting on this happening at CdA and if it does I will slow myself down!
Sunday – I had wanted to get in at least one 2.4 mile open water, continuous swim prior to the Ironman. I had planned to do it during that weird week a few weeks back but didn’t get it in. Sunday morning, Team WODS headed to the bay to conquer an Iron-distance swim. The bay has a portion where there are about 5 buoys set up in a row, making approximately a 1/10 of a mile route from one end to the other. I wanted to swim in this location so I could work on my sighting and figure out if I had corrected my problem of veering left. I was also excited to have my new Garmin 910XT to measure the distance exactly since we weren’t exactly sure about the distances.
After suiting up and putting on my newly purchased goggles, my swim booties and my neoprene swim cap (I wanted to test out my exact swimwear for CdA even though the bay temp was well above what it will be in Lake CdA on race day), we jumped in and swam a hundred or so yards to the first buoy. I started my watch and off we went. I decided to tap the “lap” button every other round-trip so that I could compare the laps. I discovered a few things during the swim:
1) I still veer left when I swim in open water. I need to sight at least once per fifty yards in order to avoid going way off course.
2) When my mind wanders, my form gets worse. I need to concentrate on every stroke
3) At the beginning of the swim, my shoulders and arms felt heavy and almost sore already, but this feeling went away. I need to not panic during IM when this feeling sets in and know that it will go away.
This swim was really valuable. Not only was it a HUGE confidence booster when I finished the 2.4 miles (2,224 yards) in 1 hour 7 minutes, but I learned that I will definitely be starting the swim on the right side of the beach. I naturally veer left (hence the fact that I ended up on the wrong side of the buoys at Oceanside 70.3) and I don’t have time to correct my stroke before the race, so I just need to acknowledge that it happens and anticipate it. While I was really happy to see such a quick swim pace on my Garmin, I also know that my Garmin picked up every yard that I swam, including all my veering, and therefore a course mapped to be 2.4 miles will actually be a bit longer for me since I don’t swim in a straight line. I’m not anticipating going 1:07 at IM CdA due to the 2,500 person wrestling match that will ensue, but it was a confidence booster regardless.
After the swim we drove home, ate a snack and changed into our run gear. I had planned to go for a 90 minute run but wasn’t feeling amazingly good so I cut it back to an 8.3 mile run, the distance from our house to Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach and back. I used the time on the run to plan out the following week’s training as well as to visualize my race plan at Ironman. I only got as far as the Saturday before the race because Mike joined me for the 4ish mile run from the cove home. It was nice to run with him – we were running in the high 8s/low 9s and he wanted to practice that pace as his possible marathon race pace at CdA ( I bet he goes faster ;).
- Yards Swam: 11,824
- Hours Biked (Door to Door): 5.5
- Mile Run: 24.2
- Core/Strength: 1 hour 15 min
- Total Time: 13.25 hours
Nutrition was great this week! I bought a lot of delicious fruit at the beginning of the week and had salads for lunch nearly every day and snacked on fruit, carrots & hummus, almonds and a Luna bar every day. I made healthy dinners every night including one night when I roasted a big pan of veggies (zucchini, broccoli, sweet potatoes, onion, red peppers, mushrooms) and served it with grilled chicken. I resisted some sweets at work, although at the advice of some friends, I did have have a couple of cookies on Thursday (and we made a stop at See’s Candy on Saturday!). The weekend, as usual, had its indulgences, especially Saturday with two big meals out, but overall I ate more fruits and veggies than a normal weekend.
This week went well! Obviously the biggest news to report is that my knee seems to be healing (I still iced it several times though).
I was actually pretty tired from the ride/run brick on Saturday – rightfully so since it was over 5 hours of training. I guess since we have done up to 9 hours on the road in one day I was expecting 5 to be easy. It actually felt easy while we were doing it but afterward I was definitely tired. We took an hour nap on Saturday and also a 2 hour nap on Sunday in addition to over 8 hours of sleep each night, which definitely helped. I made Monday a rest day again but I’m still feeling a bit tired from the weekend. I am going to play this coming week by ear – I have about 10 hours of training mapped out, which is consistent with plans I have seen, but I am not opposed to tweaking it in favor of rest.
One more taper week and then it’s race week. The count down on the Ironman website says just over 12 days til race day. I can’t believe it!