Taper (or deload for the lifters of the world) is just that. Ease off, slow down and lighten up. Call it what you will. For me this essentially means chilling out for a week before a major race. Simple, yes? No. Not quite.
You see, 2 months ago my training was going exceptionally well; predictable, consistent even with a strong adherence to the Training Peaks program of the month. Even with frequent interruptions of a professional nature. As of late, I can’t say training isn’t going well – it’s just different. The goal for this stretch, was to be as consistently inconsistent as possible. My thought process behind this is that this upcoming two day stage race is my only “B race”. Fitness foundations were established by half marathon #3, and now, this is that one last race before shit gets real.
Consistently inconsistent involved getting at least two runs in a week, incorporating zone 2 cycling and lifting again (I believe strength training is completely underrated in the running community). I also incorporated old-school work-out videos for warm ups like “Tahitian Dance”, Jillian Michaels power sets and some exceptional collections developed by Self-Magazine to help switch things up and try out some new muscles I haven’t used in awhile. Add in reading a few books and making time to dabble on the guitar and this past 8 weeks has been pretty great save an except for the occasional feeling of guilt for approaching a race in such a laid back manner.
The rub, if any, will lie in my results this weekend -how I do in a 50 km mtb race Saturday followed by a 25 km trail race Sunday will ultimately decide if this latest strategy works for me. Until then, I taper. However I feel like it.
The “Whatever Works For Me” Taper Program looks like this:
Saturday – 16.5 km of single track
Sunday – 16.6 km road run with grade
Monday – rest day (aka working later at the office and gardening into dusk)
Tuesday – 90 minute intense deep tissue massage and my gosh was this three years over-due. News to me that my back is, per the therapist, “one big knot” and my glute med and IT bands all but screamed at me. Minor compared to the twisting agony of hands on my calves (note, this totally counts as an intense work-out on this whatever works program). Half baby pint of mint cookie dough ice cream.
Wednesday – I decided that the most important thing I could do today to support my training was indulge my hormonal need for high quality chocolate… followed by the ever supporting and remaining baby pint of mint cookie dough ice cream. Don’t judge me.
Thursday – 6.5 km run tomorrow evening.
Friday – drive day.
Aaaaaand that’s pretty much it.
I’ve never approached an event in this particular way to date and despite criticisms, including my own, I think this may actually be good for an athlete to do every once in awhile. Good for the head, good for the attitude and, in more ways than I am qualified to detail, good for the body too.We’ll just have to wait and see what the finish line says.
Oh, and hydrate. Make sure you hydrate. Probably the only real advice in this post : )