This week, on Tri Talk Tuesday, Courtney, Miranda, and Cynthia have selected the theme: “tapering” because Courtney is racing Ironman Syracuse 70.3. Conveniently enough, so am I, so this topic is perfect for me! I’ve been tapering for the last two weeks, so you’ve heard a lot about tapering already. Today, though I’m going to talk about some specific things you need to do (and not do) during the LAST week of your taper before a triathlon.
1) Don’t overdo it. Since you are training for 3 events, it’s easy to accidentally work too hard in your final week before a triathlon race. Keep in mind, working hard in this last week will do nothing but HURT you on race day. Do very easy workouts during this last week and don’t push too hard.
2) Don’t try new things this week. Now is not the time to try waterskiing for the first time, or weed your garden because it’s the first time all spring you have TIME to do it! Resist the urge to fit in strenuous activities this week even though you have extra time to kill. Use that free time to stretch, foam roll, pack, plan our your race strategy, and maybe some light house cleaning
3) Practice transitions. You really should be doing this all through your taper, but especially in the week leading up to the race it’s very important to practice transitions. Every workout of mine in the final week before a race is a mini triathlon. Each day is a swim, bike, run. Each of them are VERY short and just contain small race pace intervals. The main goal of them is to practice my transitions. I lay all of my gear out as if it were a race, and practice transitioning exactly like I will on race day. This helps me work out the kinks, and get faster at switching gear, taking off my wet suit, ect.
4) Plan your race strategy and review it in your head. Even if you’re not going for a world record, it’s still important to review your strategy in your head. What nutrition will you use on the bike and run, how often will you hydrate? What aid stations do you plan on stopping at? Will you use sunscreen in transition? Will you wear a hat? Will you bring fuel with you on the run? All these questions (and more) need to be addressed the week before the race, not the day of.
5) If you haven’t done so yet, review the race website, look at the course map, the aid station layout, get directions to the race and to the expo the day before.
6) Create a packing check list. I talked about this a couple weeks ago, but I’ll say it again. Creating a list will help ensure you don’t forget to pack anything essential, and it’ll relieve a little stress. This is especially important if you are traveling a couple days before the race.
7) Get out of your head! This is a hard one for me. With the extra time a taper allows, my mind often goes crazy. I start thinking of all the ways my race can go wrong and how “unprepared” I am. Don’t let yourself do this! If necessary, plan activities with friends to keep your mind off the race. But remember-no strenuous activities! For me, I signed up to teach at an academic camp this week. I’ll be teaching several hours today and Thursday, so that will help keep me distracted from the race!
Well, that’s all the words of wisdom I have for you!
Do you have any tips for successfully making your way through a taper?