“If you’re walking, stand. If you’re standing, sit. If you’re sitting, lie down. If your lying down, sleep.” ~taper advice
Only six days until Ironman and I consider this the true taper week. Last week did represent a reduction in training – down to just 11 ½ hours from 18 + hours the previous week, but this week is maddening from a physical and mental perspective. Yesterday was an hour swim and run, but today – just an hour zone 1 on the bike, tomorrow a speed-work hour-long swim, Wednesday another easy hour on the bike and Thursday a 30-minute run. I’ll probably throw another 30 minutes in the pool in there and on Saturday, pre-race, a tuneup bike ride and 15-minute flush-out run…but compared to two to five hour workout days – we’ve got nothing this week. I will be there to teach classes, but won’t do much but count out your reps. (Remember, classes are your workout…not mine.)
The taper for the Ironman is different than that for a marathon. You still want to hold onto enough stamina to make it through 10+ hours (let’s be realistic here, 13+ hours), but let your body rest. Compression socks and a clean diet are my friends this week. But, despite the efforts, I still feel like a giant slug and a slacker. I know I’m not…but man, it’s hard to shake the feeling.
I’ll have little time to sweat my low-key exercise week, though. Just as the athletic training for Ironman lets up, the logistical aspects ramp. I’m lucky to live just 90 minutes from Boulder. There are athletes flying in from all over the world – some days and weeks in advance to acclimate to the altitude. For me, it represents a 1,500-2,000 DROP in altitude. At least I’ve got that advantage.
In addition to managing myself, I managed where the kids would go – just flew in from Texas where they’ll be spending the week with very generous grandparents. We have a cheering squad of one flying in and someone coming into the house to watch the dogs. The generous grandparents drive the kids back the day we arrive post-Ironman, so I need to have rooms ready and the house a little bit presentable. No, I’m not talking a deep clean, but rinsing the wet suit dirt out of the guest room shower is warranted.
I still need to prepare clean and familiar foods this week – relying on cheap foods or take out is not an option if I want to avoid digestive distress and feel my best come race day. Shopping for last minute race nutrition is also on the to-do list – I want to have only my favorites on the course. I have to prep my body too – I see more baths, a massage, extra yoga and foam rolling in my future. Oh, and I’m still supposed to do all those jobs I have. Darn need for income.
And then, there’s the 90 minutes of race logistics videos to watch and the thick athlete guide to review. This race makes me long a bit for the simplicity of a marathon – check in the day before, go to bed, run and be done way before noon. For Ironman Boulder, we check in Thursday, start packing one of the five bags you need on the course on Friday, drop off gear on Saturday and finally get to race on Sunday. That calm I boasted about last week is turning into a nervous chatter.