Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Taper Time!!

For me, getting to this part is almost as satisfying as anything else to do with Ironman racing. No doubt running down the finishing line caps the whole process off but as anyone who has done any sort of endurance racing will know, the hardest part about completing these events is the training.

There are not that many people cheering you on in the cold and dark of winter when you are doing the hard work that allows you to complete these events to the best of your ability and I have a huge sense of pride knowing what I have managed to put together in terms of training over the last 6 months.

One thing I have learnt through racing over the last few years is that race day performance is very unlikely to be a huge surprise. If you haven’t trained to race at a certain pace/speed/intensity then hoping for that to happen on race day is the first stage in setting yourself up for disappointment.

I set out at the start of the year aiming for a finish time that started with a ‘9’ in Busso. I know that is going to be a huge challenge but am confident that I have the physical ability to do it. For it to happen I will need to have close to a perfect day and probably need conditions to be favourable. I’ll certainly give it a good crack but a certain time is by no means the be all and end all of the race for me. The most important thing is to add another one of these to the collection...

This last week of training has been a big one and I think the weekends sessions pushed me just a few % too far as I have been sick for the last couple of days but starting to feel human again now. Despite that, I had probably my best training ride of the whole build on Saturday. Despite Melbourne throwing a soaking wet day at me, I feel like I am really starting to understand my bike pacing and using the power meter to measure my effort properly over the longer race distance. I also experimented with a slightly increased volume of nutritional intake on the bike as I have been fading a bit towards the back end of my long rides and this seemed to work pretty well, no stomach issues which was good.

Sunday’s run was ok without being spectacular, tested out all of my race day kit though with no major issues so now have that all nailed down. The two key things I'm looking for with kit selection are comfort and protection from the sun. I learnt part two the hard way in Austria so will again be busting out the long sleeved white top to help with managing heat on the run

Looking back over the last 5.5 months, the training volumes point to a very solid block of work:

Swim – 244km
Bike – 4,997km
Run – 1,498km

Of course km’s travelled doesn’t even tell half of the story but it does build confidence to know that I have the underlying volume under my belt.

I have just over a week before heading across to WA, once I kick the sickness I will be into my tapering sessions, plenty of sessions still but much shorter with lower intensity, and mentally less stressful that then key sets of recent weeks.

The before I know it I’ll be standing on the beach in Busselton with 1,500 of my new best mates, wondering what an earth possessed me to do another one of these!!