The Taper

We are now into full on taper for Ironman Wisconsin and there are a few things that I would like to pass along as we go forward. I will post them to the forum, but wanted to make sure you got them first.

Not all of you on this list are racing Ironman and I haven't directly coached many of you, but we have crossed paths at some point along the way. Whether or not you are racing, have raced or will race again, I think that this information is good for everyone to remember.

Each one of you has had a different story, a different training plan and a different path to get where we are 12 days out from the race. Some of you have had injuries, some have been sick and some have had to learn to train in a different way due to changes within your lives. Whatever your story is, whatever your state of mind is and whatever your level fitness may be, it is important that over the next 12 days you take advantage of every opportunity you have the race you want and have worked so hard for. It has been a complete pleasure to get to know each one of you over the years; you have all taught me something and now it's time to pass a small bit back to you in return.

A few things to remember are as follows:

1) Your immune system is at it's lowest point this week. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. I like analogies, so here you go. If you visualize your training as though you are building a tower of fitness while working on a ladder and your taper as climbing back down the ladder, you know that there is risk involved. Many athletes let their guard down as soon as the work is done. While this can work, it can also set you up for getting sick in this last week. Something that we obviously do not want. My advice is continue to treat the taper sessions as regular training sessions in your mind. Focus on execution and recovery after each one. Remember that recovery is USUALLY what separates athletes. We ALL like to work hard ;)

2) Write out a race plan, write out a nutrition plan and write out a mental plan. If any one of these gets neglected throughout the race it will have am impact on the outcome. Write a plan for each in different conditions that you might face (varies greatly here:) and then make a list of possible obstacles you could run into on race day. After you do this, write out what your plan is when faced with each one.

When thinking about the mental side of racing and the days leading up, it is important to know where you want your mind and focus to go. I worked with Bobby McGee this last month who has helped me tremendously in overcoming a lot within my own racing. If you want to ask a few questions, feel free. Otherwise I will be speaking on it at 6:30pm, next tuesday (sept 7th) at Trek Store West. No matter what your level of training or racing, this is something that most of us do not think about. Anxiety, focus and thought all come at a cost; it's very apparent in living on a daily basis. While it might not matter so much with other aspects of your life; cutting down the energy used to worry, focus and think within your racing can yield huge dividends.

3) When making your plans for the race and the days before, don't change anything. We are very accustom to having to do things "better" for special events in our lives. While this works outside of sport, it rarely works within. What has worked for your best training sessions is what will work on race day, period. It's good to write it out, know what you are doing ahead of time, so you can relax your mind when you need to on race day and focus when you need to.

4) Focus on what you can control. If we missed training due to injury, if we can a family vacation 6 weeks ago, if we haven't run much all year, don't worry about it. None of that stuff matters and none of it can be changed. Once and a while you see performances in athletes that you had no idea were possible. This is because they raced in the moment, they had a plan and they didn't let their mind wander or get stuck on the thoughts that pass through during an 8hr, 12hr or 16hr race. The correct approach to racing is very much like meditating, remember that. Our bodies are not machines, we can do far less than we should be able to do on paper and we can do far more. For those of you who track your fitness and training in Training Peaks, remember this. Some of our best rides come when we least expect it.

A quick note on times and PR's. Our times at the end of the day are determined by much more than just our fitness level. Focus on executing and doing what you need in the moment, throughout the day and the time will take care of itself. You can't control things like the weather, mechanicals or other athletes. The reality is that we have to deal with all of them, dont stress about it, deal with them how you have planned and then move forward with what you are doing in the moment.

5) Remember why you are out there. For some it's racing, for some it's pushing their own limits to see what we can do and for some it's just completing the event. Whatever the level, whatever your goals, remember that in the end we do this because we love it. Never forget that and never forget it's just one day.

Ok, that's about it for now. For those of you who are racing, GOOD LUCK. If any one of you needs anything, I am more than happy to help. My phone number is below and in addition I will be available after the Talk on the 7th.


rhino said…
Great info Blake!! Thanks

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