With Ironman Australia just over three weeks away one of the main things you should now be planning is how you are going to taper. 2012 World Ironman Champion Pete Jacobs has been kind enough to share some of his thoughts on tapering for Ironman Australia on May 5. Sometimes it is not about the science rather simply not doing what your competitive DNA is pushing you to do.
‘It is time to think about the goal you have been training for…’
I recently heard a very insightful observation of triathletes trying to taper for a race. It was stated that many people get caught up in the process, and forget about their goal.
This was pointing out that many athletes became so addicted to getting fitter, pushing harder, training more, eating less, and reaching these daily goals on the way to their major goal of an Ironman, that they can’t switch it off and rest up for their race.
Don’t forget you need to be well rested on the start line of an Ironman. Don’t think of it as a race, think of it as a game of survival, the last person to slow down wins. You are the fittest you’ve ever been, you can’t get fitter in that last week without fatiguing yourself further. Swim lightly a few times, run as little as possible (I only run twice in the last 8 days before an Ironman), and spend less time on the bike and only do short sharp efforts.
I always tell myself that tapering for a marathon might require running more than I do, but I’m also tapering for a swim, and a 180km ride. If you add up all the hours you are still training over the three disciplines it would be way more than someone who was tapering just for the marathon, or a swim, or a bike race. Do less in your taper. When you are riding easy, ride EASY. Sit up, dawdle along, let everyone else pass you and ride off into the distance. Don’t try and get fitter in race week.
Your goal is on race day. If you can’t control your urges to test your legs over a long effort, or your ego tells you that you should be faster than the other guy who just rode past you, then you will not be in control on race day. You need to practice being comfortable with your choices and being confident in your ability on race day.
You were ready weeks ago, so now just look after yourself and don’t waste any precious energy feeding your ego and building confidence close to the race. It’s all in there already, just take a few deep breaths and tell yourself you are ready to be an Ironman.