After 6 months of preparation, taper time is finally here. Unlike the shorter 7-10 day tapers I’ve adopted for my other races this season, I’m taking advantage of a proper 3 week taper leading up to Ironman Lake Tahoe, not to mention 6 vacation days and a full week of altitude acclimation. No taper comes unearned, and I made one final push this past weekend before dialing back. Here’s how it went down:
Swim: the swim has been my most neglected leg this year. My times have slightly improved with a dramatic dip in volume; I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – swimming simply isn’t a lot of bang for my buck. I had a great 2.4 mile race simulation at Vineman Aqua Bike and wanted to get one more big swim before tapering, so I went for my first 5K on Monday. I hit the 2.4 mile split at 1:05 and ultimately finished at 1:26. Swimming will be the focal point of my taper between now and race day as I look to stay off my feet as much as possible and reduce training stress.
Bike: after logging 2 100+ mile rides in consecutive weekends last month, I felt very strong about my bike leg. Unfortunately, my Tahoe crash has eroded some of my confidence and drive to get on the bike. I logged a strong ride at Alpine Dam the week before last and decided to go back for another with my friend Shane on Saturday. We ended up riding the Alpine Dam loop sub-4 hours – my fastest time yet. Instead of going for distance, I opted for an intense, shorter loop (56 miles) with substantial climbs. I feel confident that I can stretch it out (much) longer and pace myself come race day.
Run: the run has been my constant this season. After a big week where I logged a hilly half marathon before work last Monday and ran two sub 6 miles at track practice on Wednesday, Taylor and I set out for a long trail run on Sunday. We ended up logging 14 total with 2700’ of elevation gain, and I ran with a 15 pound pack for added resistance. Between the elevation gain and the pack resistance, I feel very good about the run leg in Tahoe; my goal is simple – I want to run the marathon this time around, and I’m poised to do just that.
So what now? I’m less than three weeks away from the big day, and have managed to escape the bulk of Ironman training in one piece. The focus now is rest and recovery – I’ll push hard in short clips – tempo runs and bike intervals, but easy does it otherwise. Taylor and I just purchased a new king bed – rest and relaxation has never been easier.